I never could build a great sand castle. I always started like most people do, with my buckets of sand, tightly packed and flipped upside down to make a base. Then I worked to build my castle taller, stacking more sand on top of the base. It never worked. By the time my sand castle was a couple of feet tall, it would crumble to the ground. As it turns out, I was doing it wrong. According to the World Championship of Sand Sculpting, to make a truly great sand sculpture you have to build from the top down, not from the bottom up.
You may have seen some of the giant sand sculptures created by world class artists. My family had a chance to see a sample at The Magic House, a children's museum in St. Louis, Missouri. Sand sculptors who design these amazing but temporary works of art begin with wooden forms which are packed tightly with high quality wet sand. Once the forms are removed, the sculptors begin shaping the sand into the desired form.
The sculptor I talked to at The Magic House said that they simply take away all the sand that it not part of the sculpture, one little bit at a time. Sounds a lot easier than it really is, I think.
This year, the Tournament of Champions will showcase the work of elite sand sculptors from all over the world. These artists will gather at the Northwest Sand Festival in Federal Way, Washington from August 16 through September 3 to create masterpieces and compete for prizes.
The sculptors who participate in this contest have many years of experience and have won numerous local and regional contests to earn the chance to show their skills in the World Championship of Sand Sculpting tournament. Nowhere else in the world will spectators see this much sand sculpting talent all in one place.
Visitors to the festival can expect magnificent art that is truly transient. Only photos remain when the sculpture erodes. They can also take sand sculpting lessons from master sculptors and kids can play in a giant sand pit of their own. Lots of other activities will be featured along with diverse craft and food vendors. For lovers of sand castles and sculptures, this festival promises to be a whole lot of fun.
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Tavia worked as a naturalist and recreation specialist at an Oklahoma lake during her college years. She enjoys using what she learned as an outdoor educator in her work with children today.