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Arts & Entertainment

Sun, Surf, and (Amazing) Sand

This weekend, head to Revere Beach for the 11th Annual National Sand Sculpting Festival


For many people, memories of childhood summers include playing in the sand at the beach. That may explain why the Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival—which kicks off today—has become one of Boston’s most beloved summer events, attracting annual crowds of about 350,000. But we’re not talking just any old sandcastles here. This is art. Fifteen master sand sculptors are competing against each other for a $5,000 grand prize.

Participants come to Revere Beach from all over the world—some of this year’s artists hail from as far away as Russia, the Netherlands, and Singapore. Each sculptor receives approximately 12 tons of sand and is allowed 30 hours over the course of several days prior to the festival’s launch to create a work of art made entirely of sand. The competitors themselves then judge the work of their peers, evaluating each sculpture according to the following criteria: overall impact/wow factor; quality of carving; usage of sand; degree of difficulty; and originality and artistic impression.

The sand sculptures will be on display today through Sunday, July 20. Competition winners will be announced tomorrow, Saturday, July 19, at 6 p.m., followed by the annual Fireworks Extravaganza at 9 p.m.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Stars and Stripes in Sand,” a tribute to retired and active members of the US military. Look especially for the main sculpture, a collaborative effort between the professional sculptors inspired by this patriotic motif.

In addition to the professional sand sculpting competition, the three-day festival features live entertainment, gourmet food trucks, and sand sculpting lessons for children and families.

The Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival is free and open to the public.
It begins on Friday, July 18, at 10 a.m. and runs through Sunday, July 20, at 10 p.m. For more information and a complete list of events, visit the festival’s website. To get to Revere Beach by public transportation, take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street station, change to an Orange Line train toward Oak Grove and get off at State Street (the first stop), and then take an outbound Blue Line train. Get off at the Wonderland station; it’s a short walk to the beach.

Samantha Pickette can be reached at pickette@bu.edu.

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