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See world-class sculptors in action at Texas SandFest

First-place Master Duo in 2017, Wilfred Stijger and Edith van de Wetering and their transitory sand sculpture, ‘Kids are Sweet Little Monsters, Especially When They are Asleep.’ Photo courtesy of Texas SandFest

View the best sandcastle sculptors in the world at work during the annual Texas SandFest in Port Aransas. Master sculptors from around the world assemble between mile markers 9-13 on Mustang Island to pound, pat and pattern their sandy creations. This year, SandFest is April 27-29, rain or shine.

While sculptors mold and shape, musicians perform all weekend long. A beer and wine garden provides refreshments, and food trucks cook up everything from corn dogs to tacos. An amateur area for aspiring sand sculptors will teach the art of molding the sands of Mustang Island.

SandFest is a widely popular event, attracting about 50,000 visitors a year. Many come from Houston, San Antonio and Austin as well on day trips from across the Coastal Bend.

“So many people come to Port Aransas; it’s a great family-oriented event,” said Scott Burroughs, Port Aransas chief of police. “Everybody has a good time — that’s what going to the beach is all about.”

SandFest admission fits every budget: Tickets are $10 for adults and good for all three days of the festival. Admission is free for kids 12 and younger.

GETTING THERE

Due to the damages of Hurricane Harvey, Port Aransas is facing a shortage of hotel and vacation rentals with little room for visitors to stay on the island. The event is staying open later this year to accommodate those traveling into town from Corpus Christi.

“Be patient,” event coordinator Lisa Shelton advised. “Traffic may be worse (than usual).”

The good news when it comes to traffic is Texas 361 has been expanded since last year’s festival. Additional lanes should move vehicles along a little faster, although getting onto the beach will still be slow.

Save the headache and take advantage of the free shuttle transportation. Park-and-ride points are at Roberts Point Park (near the ferry landing) and the end of the beach at Sandcastle Drive. The buses will run to and from those points 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

“The earlier visitors get to the festival, particularly on Saturday, the better,” Burroughs said. “The parking on the beach fills by early afternoon or sooner.”

For those planning to park on the beach, be sure to get a Beach Parking Permit in advance from the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau (403 W. Cotter), IGA Family Center (418 S. Alister) and local Stripes convenience stores. Cash-only permits will be sold at beach entrances as well.

The festival will have two parking lots on the beach: one at the north entrance near Avenue G and the other at the south entrance near Access Road 1A. Keep in mind that the speed limit on the beach is a strict 15 mph and parking along the dune lines is prohibited.

Join sandcastle enthusiasts, sun worshippers, vendors, artists, sculptors and more all along Mustang Island Beach for one of the most popular events of the year.

Visit texassandfest.org for more information.

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