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What to know before going to Texas SandFest

Taking first place in Masters Duo and People’s Choice Duo categories was this masterful sculpture titled Youth’s Entrepreneurial Endeavor Results in Lingual Dilemma by Morgan Rudluff and Abe Waterman. Courtesy photoFor tips on the best way to get to SandFest, see story, Page 9. Courtesy Photo

Coastal Bend sand builds the best sandcastles in the world, drawing world-class sand sculptors and more than 100,000 visitors each year to the annual Texas SandFest in Port Aransas. This year, SandFest, which must be held on a weekend when the tide is out, is set for April 21-23.

Sand artists from around the world showcase their skills while musicians jam all weekend long. A special beer and wine garden will keep visitors cool, while an amateur area for aspiring sand sculptors will teach the art of molding Mustang Beach’s sand.

The grains of Mustang Island are beloved by sand artists because of the fine texture and flat shape, which retains the surface tension necessary for artistic creations to stick together like glue. And then, there is the real glue that is added to water and sprayed on the sculptures to keep their lines and angles sharp.

HOW TO GET THERE

Although you can drive on the beach and walk to SandFest, we recommend parking at Robert’s Point Park and taking the free Regional Transit Authority shuttle bus. It will drop you off at the heart of the event, so you don’t face the hassle of searching for limited parking or walking a mile to get to the best sculptures and vendors. You can also park in the lot at the intersection of Access Road A and Gracie’s Way. Walk toward the beach, and a golf cart shuttle will take you the rest of the way.

Beach parking is at the south entrance near Access Road 1A or the north entrance near Avenue G, but keep in mind the city of Port Aransas requires permits to park on the beach. Permits are $12 and can be purchased at beach entrances, local Stripes stores or the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce, 403 W. Cotter Ave.

The event unfolds from beach mile markers 9-13. Tickets are $10 for adults and good for all three days of the festival. Admission is free for kids 12 and younger. You’ll find vendors, artists, sculptors and fellow sun worshipers all along the Mustang Island beach. The event is 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

For a behind-the-scenes look at how professional sand sculptor Mark Landrum creates his masterpieces, check out reporter JoAnna Kopp’s story at 101corpuschristi.com/sandart.

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