Through October 27
International Sandsculpture Festival, Søndervig, Denmark
Each June, a team of international artists is invited to work together on an enormous sculpture of sand in this beach area of western Denmark. Done by 38 sculptors, this year's carving is complete; the sculpture will remain intact and on view until October 27.
November 15-18, 2013
Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition, Siesta Key Beach, Sarasota, Florida
"Some of the most beautiful beach sand in the world," McGrew says. "I think this is a great little spot for anyone looking for super-clean, white sugar beaches and beautiful warm weather in November." Events include amateur competitions for kids and parents, head-to-head speed-carving events and a demonstration by Amazin Walter. Expect crowds---some 70,000 people attend over four days. Part of the proceeds supports sea turtle conservation projects at Mote Marine Laboratory.
November 21-24, 2013
Sanding Ovations Master Cup Sand Sculpting Competition, Treasure Island, Florida
Now in its fifth year, this event takes place beside the Bilmar Beach Resort on Florida's Gulf Coast. The competition is serious, but the atmosphere is laid-back, unpretentious and beachy.
November 22-December 1, 2013
American Sand Sculpting Championship, Fort Myers Beach, Florida
More than 1,000 tons of sand plus 30 master sculptors in singles and doubles competition add up to what's billed as the largest sand sculpting event in Florida. Now in its 27th year, it's also one of the oldest. In addition to the pros, amateurs and kids compete for prizes and acclaim---and everyone attempts to avoid structural collapse. "When you work with beach sand, you have to be flexible," Croft notes, "but it helps retain that 'sand castle' essence."
December 26, 2013-January 26, 2014
Hawkesbury International Sand Sculpting Championship, Howe Park, Windsor, NSW, Australia
Now in its third year, this competition is held in a park about an hour's drive from Sydney. Solo and team carvers work from December 26 to January 3 and the sculptures remain for People's Choice voting until January 26. (Summer in Australia, remember!) "The event is in a great location on the Hawkesbury River with sculptures nestled in between trees and park benches," McGrew says.
April 11-13, 2014
Texas SandFest, Port Aransas, Texas
When planning the annual Texas SandFest, organizers consult the tide charts to determine the dates of lowest tide, so while the chosen week varies from year to year, the event is always in early spring. That used to be before summer tourist season, yet after 18 years of successful festivals, tourists now arrive early---because of Texas SandFest. With events for both amateurs and pros, "it is a great community event with a good vibe," Rademaker says.
Summer Signs Annual Sand Sculpture Festival, Jelgava, Latvia
"My favorite competition abroad," McGrew says. "In a beautiful park, a dozen or so international sculptors come together for a five-day event with practically no time limit. ... You can practically work 'til you drop, if you were so inclined."
Master Sand Sculpting Competition, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
This year's competition just ended, but pencil it in for next year---an annual event that brings in 200-plus tons of imported sand and a dozen or so master carvers to shape it into something beautiful, plus lessons and clinics for the public.
June 2014 (likely)