We all have memories of summers spent on a beach strewn with yellow pails, racing to the water’s edge and screaming with delight as flattened waves entered the moats of our sand castles. At many beaches across the U.S., sand castles have grown up into true works of art. Sand sculpting is the art of turning ordinary grains of sand into competitive waterside chefs d’oeuvre, and at these festivals and events you can get an up-close view of some masterful (albeit temporary) monuments.
? One of the premier July events is the New England Sand Sculpting invitational, held at Mashpee Commons in Mashpee, Massachusetts, from July 8 to 10 and featuring between five and 18 artists. newenglandsandsculptingfestival.com
? Also in July, Long Beach, Washington, transforms into a sandy wonderland during the Sandsations Sand Sculpture Contest, July 20 to 24, where novices can channel their childhoods with free sculpting lessons and a beach bonfire. sandsationslongbeach.com
? Sand-sculpting showings become forces of change with nebraska children’s home society’s sand in the City, which helps raise money through its events held in such unlikely venues as Omaha’s Qwest Center parking lot, where 350 tons of sand were trucked in last year for a dozen teams to work. sandinthecityomaha.com
? For those with a competitive edge, Hampton Beach Master sand Sculpting competition (pictured), June 18 to 30, is one of five World Championship qualifiers. Here, 15 world-class master sculptors compete for $15,000 in prize and purse money. The works are even illuminated for nighttime viewings. hamptonbeach.org/sandcastle-competition.cfm