PARKSVILLE — The weather should be perfect and the artwork stunning as world class sculptures rise from the sand on Parksville beach this weekend.
Sculptors from around the world are on the beach in Parksville’s community park, preparing their pieces to be judged on Sunday, July 15 in the 36th annual Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition.
The competition officially kicks off Parksville Beach Festival, a premier summer event on the mid-island which attracted nearly 400,000 visitors combined over the last three years.
This year’s theme is ‘Wild Things – From here to the Galapagos.’ There are seven doubles teams and 15 soloists competing for more than $40,000 in prize money. The competitors represent Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, Russia, and Belgium.
Italy’s Leonardo Ugolini captured the 2017 soloist prize with his piece Spirits of Canada.
Starting Friday, the sculptors have 30 hours to construct a masterpiece in front of scores of fans eager to get a glimpse of the unique and dazzling creations.
Once the competition is finished on Sunday, the sculptures will remain on display in the park until Aug. 19, with gates open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Admission is by a suggested donation of $3, which contributes to the prize money, costs to run the event and local charities.
Since 1999, the Beach Festival Society contributed more than $550,000 to the groups that volunteer their time at the event.
Visitors at the event will also have a chance to vote for the coveted People’s Choice winner.