At the heart of the Parksville Beach Festival is the Sand Sculpting Competition, attracting professional sculptors from all over the world.

At the heart of the Parksville Beach Festival is the Sand Sculpting Competition, attracting professional sculptors from all over the world.

Sun, sand + celebrations: Festival brings international sand sculptors to Parksville

Parksville Beach Festival returns July 14 to Aug. 21 with activities for all ages

Your chance to see some of the world’s best sand sculptors in action – and enjoy some long-awaited beach-side festivities – is coming next month!

The Parksville Beach Festival returns bigger and better than ever this year, with 5 1/2 weeks of family-friendly activities on and around Parksville’s vast sandy beach. At the heart of the festival is the Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition, July 14 to 17, attracting professional sculptors from all over the world.

“The calibre of the sculptors and the work they do just gets better and better every year,” says Wendy Sears, with the non-profit Beach Festival society.

Working with this year’s sculpting theme of “The Roaring Twenties,” sculptors will prepare their sculpting bases on July 14, with the competition open to public viewing beginning at 2 p.m. July 15.

With only 30 hours to complete their sculpture, after six hours of preliminary work, sculptors have just 24 hours to carve over 4 days. Each soloist receives 10 yards of sand – 15 yards for the doubles – and all the sand must be used in their creation, mixed with water and nothing more.

Beyond the bragging rights, participants vie for cash prizes awarded to the top 3 doubles and the top 5 soloists, in addition to peer-selected awards and people’s choice prizes.

If you can’t make it for the competition weekend, the sculptures remain in place for the Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Exhibition, open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. through Aug. 21. Admission is by suggested donation of $5 per person, and don’t forget to vote for your favourites!

Inspired by the professionals? Take part in the free Parksville Canadian Tire Sculpting Lessons & Demonstrations, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 16 and 17. All ages welcome!

With only 30 hours to complete their sculpture, after six hours of preliminary work, sculptors have just 24 hours to carve over 4 days.

With only 30 hours to complete their sculpture, after six hours of preliminary work, sculptors have just 24 hours to carve over 4 days.

So much more to celebrate

The sculptures may be the starring attraction of Beachfest but there’s plenty more to celebrate. Here’s a look at what’s on the calendar:

  • Party City Buskers, July 18 to Aug. 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. daily – Enjoy a diverse cross section of Island musicians, performing at the Boardwalk Gazebo, adjacent to the sand sculpting exhibition.
  • Tim Hortons Free Summer Concert Series, July 22, 23, 29 & 30 and Aug. 12, 13, 19 & 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Enjoy performances at the newly constructed Parksville Outdoor Theatre.
  • Arbutus RV & Marine Art in the Park, July 23 & 24 – Browse the two-day arts and craft fair in the gardens around the tennis courts in the park.
  • Mid Island Co-op Rock the Park Music Festival, Aug. 5 to 7 – A new festival addition this year, the three-day music fest features world-class tribute bands and performances by perennial favourites! Tickets are on sale now.

    For two nights only the Sand Sculpture Exhibition is illuminated and open after dark, until 11 p.m.

    For two nights only the Sand Sculpture Exhibition is illuminated and open after dark, until 11 p.m.

  • Coastal Community Credit Union Sculpture ‘Light Up,’ Aug. 19 & 20 – For two nights only the Sand Sculpture Exhibition is illuminated and open after dark, until 11 p.m.
  • Quality Foods Festival of Lights, Aug. 20 – The fun begins at sundown with spectacular fireworks, simulcast to music on 88.5FM The Beach.
  • Quality Foods Children’s Sandcastle Competition, Aug. 21 – Register on the beach from 8 to 9:45 a.m., with competition starting at 10 a.m. sharp. The event is free and the No. 1 rule is that “all teams must have fun.” Building wraps up at 11:30 a.m., with prizes awarded after judging is completed.

Plan your visit today at parksvillebeachfest.ca and see you at the beach!

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