The Invitational sand sculpting event, which will run from June 14-16, and has attracted sculptors from as far away as India and the Netherlands, gives sculptors a total of 24 hours over 3 days to finish their 10-ton solo sculptures. Prior to the competition, the sculptors arrive throughout the week to help with what is referred to as “pounding up” (strengthening the sculptures by compacting the sand) and to begin building the massive 100-ton sponsor site. This year’s sponsor site theme is “Out of This World.” The sponsors help to pay for the event, which is also funded by the Hampton Beach Village District in cooperation with the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce and the New Hampshire Division of Parks.
The sculptors are each given their own private plot and 10 tons of sand to work with. Sculptors will be carving June 14th-16th, with voting and awards given out on the evening of the 16th on the Seashell Stage at 8 p.m. The awards ceremony is followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m. The sculptures will remain on display through June 27th, and will be lit for night viewing.
Sculptors will be competing for $15,000 in prize money at Hampton Beach as well as bragging rights. All the sculptors consider the “People’s Choice Award” to be the biggest honor. Prior to the masters beginning their competition, a massive 100-ton sponsor site will be created June 13th, and a Group Carve will take place later that day.
Among this year’s cast of sculptors are Marc Lepire from Quebec, Canada, Carl Jara from Lyndhurst, Ohio and five-time world champion and five-time North American Champion and last year’s winner, from Toronto, Canada, Karen Fralich. Each of their styles is entirely different. Jara creates thought-provoking, out-of-the box creations, while Karen focuses on personal inspiration and capturing emotion. Marc returns to Hampton after the passing of his father Michel, who was a beloved part of Hampton Beach’s competition since its inception. He continues the Lepire legacy with his world-renowned talents. Other sculptors competing this year are Justin Gordon from Groveland, Mass., the quirky Abe Waterman from Prince Edward Island, Canada, and last year’s winner, Mélineige Beauregard from Montreal, Canada. Other sculptors include Dan Belcher from Missouri, the 10 time National Snow Sculpting Champion David Andrews from Wisconsin, and – new this year – Kirk Radimaker from California and Delayne Corbett from Vancouver, Canada, whose work we are all excited to see.
The alternate Master is Morgan Rudluff from California.
People’s Choice voting which takes place on Saturday, June 16th from 1-3 p.m., allows visitors to vote for their favorite by casting a ballot at the sculpture.
Returning to teach sand sculpting to kids of all ages is Carissa Porcaro of Portland, Me. and Darlene Duggan of Essex, Mass.
Free lessons will be held onsite on Friday and Saturday from 1-3 p.m. Visitors may sign up at the Chamber Office building, next to the Sand Sculptures, only on the day of the lesson. After judging, awards will be handed out on the Seashell Stage on Saturday evening followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m. The sculptures will then remain on display until June 27th and will be lit for night viewing. Previous sculptures can be seen at hamptonbeach.org.
The competition is a major draw and highly anticipated event for Hampton Beach, and although weather can impact the crowds, wet weather actually strengthens the sculptures. The competition draws people from as far away as New York, Canada and California.
It’s been 18 years since the event began and the sculptures have captivated the minds of the hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world who have seen them. But each year brings new challenges and new wonderment as the sculptures are pounded up, carefully imagined, sketched out and created by these Master Sculptors, then put on display to tickle the minds of all who will see them.
Featured photograph: Greg Grady, Jr., To the Moon, 2013 entry.