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SandFest canceled for 2020 in Port Aransas

'Liberty Crumbling' won first place at the 2019 Texas SandFest competition in Port Aransas. Texas SandFest 2020 has been canceled after previously being moved from April to October. The next SandFest is set for April 23-25, 2021. Sculpture and photo by Master Solo competitor Damon Langlois

Texas SandFest rain or shine but not pandemic. After moving the annual April event to October, the SandFest committee announced that the 2020 event has been canceled.

“It is with a heavy heart that we must announce Texas SandFest will not take place in 2020,” reads the SandFest website. “We appreciate your understanding and support. See you April 23-25, 2021.”

A main concern was for the health of the many volunteers needed to make SandFest happen.

“The highest priority is the health and safety of our visitors, sculptors, volunteers, sponsors, and vendors,” read a news release from texassandfest.org.

SandFest plans its dates around low tide to allow for plenty of space for castles and customers. It moved its original April dates to October 2-4. Since that time, the COVID-19 pandemic has surged in Nueces County, landing the community in the pages of The New York Times on July 11 as the area with the highest cases per capita in the country.

During a July 13 news briefing, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales pleaded with people to stay away from the coast for the time being to help locals recover. According to researchers, one in 13 people in the area have contracted the virus.

Local officials will meet with the General Land Office in the next few days to discuss how to restrict access to the beach that would allow some use but keep away crowds.

With COVID-19 cases growing at an alarming rate, the Texas SandFest committee decided to begin planning for next year.

Buc Days, which was moved from May to November, might be next.

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