NOT YOUR AV­ER­AGE SAND CAS­TLES

EPIC SAND SCULP­TURES TAKE OVER RE­VERE BEACH FOR THE IN­TER­NA­TIONAL COM­PE­TI­TION.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - CATHER­INE PERLOFF

Close to a mil­lion peo­ple are ex­pected to stop by the 14th an­nual In­ter­na­tional Sand Sculpt­ing Fes­ti­val, which takes on Re­vere Beach from July 21 through 23.

The event rep­re­sents a time to en­joy a warm week­end in July with fam­ily and friends. How­ever, for the 15 pro­fes­sional sand sculp­tors who are com­pet­ing, it’s se­ri­ous busi­ness.

“Re­vere Beach is one of the top three com­pe­ti­tions in the world,” says Mered­ith Cor­son-Dou­ble­day, who helps or­ga­nize the event through her Florida-based com­pany Sand­ing Ova­tions. “All the com­peti­tors here are world cham­pion level.”

Com­peti­tors come from across the globe to Bos­ton’s shores to cre­ate enor­mous sand mas­ter­pieces, which they must sculpt be­tween Wed­nes­day and Satur­day. Three ex­pert judges will then de­cide on a win­ner, dol­ing out over $40,000 in cash prizes. Spec­ta­tors also play a role by choos­ing which sculp­ture will take home the Peo­ple’s Choice Award.

“It’s not just their abil­ity that comes to play. It’s their per­son­al­ity,” says Cor­son-Dou­ble­day. “We love sculp­tors that carve from the heart.”

In ad­di­tion to the in­di­vid­ual sculp­tures, the in­ter­na­tional sand artists will work to­gether to cre­ate a 20foot wide sand replica of the USS.Con­sti­tu­tion as well as a 10foot tall light­house, homages to the Bos­ton land­mark leav­ing dry dock on July 23 and last month’s tall ships ex­trav­a­ganza.

World-renowned sand sculp­tors aren’t the only ones who spend the year an­tic­i­pat­ing the fes­ti­val. The Re­vere Beach Part­ner­ship or­ga­nizes and hosts the an­nual event, seek­ing to show­case and draw vis­i­tors to Amer­ica’s old­est pub­lic beach.

“We do this be­cause we think it’s a great way to ex­pose the chil­dren and fam­i­lies to some­thing they other­wise wouldn’t see,” says John Hamel, the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s board pres­i­dent.

The part­ner­ship formed as Re­vere Beach fell off in pop­u­larty in the late 20th cen­tury and seeks to main­tain and re­vi­tal­ize the beach as a com­mu­nity re­source. “Our mis­sion is to con­tinue the her­itage of Re­vere Beach as a nearby re­treat for work­ing peo­ple from New Eng­land,” Hamel says. “Our be­lief is that not ev­ery­one can af­ford to go to the Cape and nor should they have to the leave the Greater Bos­ton area to en­joy a nice day at the beach.” H e adds, “We rec­og­nize that the beach it­self is a nat­u­ral re­source in of it­self that en­riches peo­ple’s lives.” To this end, the sand sculpt­ing fes­ti­val is not only an op­por­tu­nity for New Eng­lan­ders to see sand art, but en­joy a unique sum­mer beach day. There will be a merry-go-round, a Fer­ris wheel and a kid­die coaster, plus sand cas­tle lessons and other chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties. Fam­i­lies can en­joy live mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment through­out the fes­ti­val and grab bites from sev­eral food ven­dors and food trucks.

Fes­ti­val-go­ers def­i­nitely won’t want to miss Satur­day night’s sculp­ture awards cer­e­mony at 6 p.m. or the fire­works show at 9 p.m. Af­ter the fes­tiv­i­ties, the sculp­tures are open to the pub­lic un­til they even­tu­ally suc­cumb to nat­u­ral ero­sion. Cor­son­Dou­ble­day says the sand arts’ short-lived na­ture pro­vides a unique chal­lenge to artists.

“The rea­son so many of us do this is be­cause it’s not per­ma­nent,” she says. “There’s so much more in­trigue be­cause it’s not go­ing to be there for a long time.”

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See sandy mas­ter­pieces this week­end.

The fest is one of the world’s top sand sculpt­ing events.

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