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Texas SandFest expected to draw 100,000

Titled ‘House Broken,’ this sand sculpture by Amazin’ Walter and William Lloyd won third place and People’s Choice at a previous SandFest in Port Aransas. Photo courtesy of Amazin’ Walter

You don’t have to be a professional builder of sandcastles to participate in the annual Texas SandFest in Port Aransas, but if you want to compete in the world championships, you do.

The best way to enjoy SandFest, however, is to be a spectator. This year, about 100,000 lovers of sand art are expected to descend on Port Aransas for Texas SandFest on April 24-27. And 15-18 visitors will be professional sand sculptors from around the world.

“This is the first time in a long time that we have not had a local sculptor in the competition,” said event president Scott Tanzer, owner of Inside Out Beach Decor and Port A Beach Buggies. He has been involved with the event for five years.

“Port A is a small, super-tight community, and I do this as my way of giving back,” he said.

Beyond viewing the spectacular stone-like, through fragile structures and mystical creatures on display, visitors can enjoy a festival atmosphere with family-friendly activities; 100 different gift, food and drink vendors; and the amateur competition. You can also learn the art of sand sculpting from on-site artists giving training sessions.

While the professional competition is invitation only, anyone can compete in the amateur contest. For a minimal fee, sand enthusiasts of all ages are welcome to pit their skills against each other for prizes. Building time is five hours.

All the money raised at SandFest from vendor fees to raffle proceeds will go to local charities and college scholarships for local high school students.

“SandFest is family driven,” Tanzer said. “It’s a really fun family event.”

Tanner added that the most asked question about the event is why it’s on a different weekend each year. The answer is somewhat complicated.

“Sand sculpting is done physically and literally on the beach with waves in the background and sand under your feet,” he said. “It has to be done during a low tide, and since it’s always in April, we sometimes have to avoid Easter weekend and we always have to plan around the Fiesta in San Antonio. It’s a challenge to get the date right each year.”

Never fear, next year’s date is already set and can be inked onto your calendar. The 2016 festival will be held later than ever: April 29-30 and May 1.

For more information on SandFest, visit the website at

One last reminder: Don’t think you can come late and see the sculptures the day after when the crowds have dispersed. Sand art is knocked down as soon as the festival is over for safety reasons.

That’s the beauty of the art form, said local sand artist Fred Mallett.

“I don’t want to preserve it,” he told Corpus Christi Business News as he sculpted last year’s entryway piece, complete with sponsor logos. “With sand, you don’t have to store it, sell it or take it apart. You just walk away.”


WHAT: Texas SandFest

WHERE: Port Aransas on Mustang Island, between Mile Markers 9 through 13

WHEN: Noon-5 p.m., Friday, April 24; 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, April 25; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, April 26

COST: For all three days: Adults $5; Children under 12 and Port A residents Free. Wristbands available at entrance gates.

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