The 13th annual SandFest, the largest master sand-sculpting contest in the U.S., begins Saturday, April 11, with free sand-sculpting lessons.
Now a tradition in Port Aransas, this event, slated for Friday through Sunday, April 17-19, draws more than 100,000 people, features 28 worldclass master sculptors, five classes of competition and an average of 200 amateur entries. The festivities will take place on the beach, between beach markers eight and 11, about one mile south of Horace Caldwell Pier.
It all begins with Lesson Mountain, free sand sculpting lessons given a week in advance near mile marker 11 on the beach.
Lesson Mountain is a public event where anyone with the grit to participate may learn the art of sand sculpting. All they need to do is show up on the beach with a few tools, ready to learn and get down and dirty, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sculptors of all ages are invited.
Capt. Steve Zarych and Chip Cooper, along with other volunteers, will teach novices the tricks of the trade.
Participants should bring their own tools from home. Almost anything can be used: Straws, trowels, spatulas, small shovels or spades, chopsticks, spoons and, of course, buckets. Buckets are provided, but may be brought form home as well.
SandFest t-shirts may be purchased at the event.
Lesson Mountain is sponsored by Stripes convenience stores.
SandFest is a family event with plenty of activities for children, vendors of food and merchandise and free live music throughout. Drawings for prizes and bidding at a silent auction will begin on Friday, and the demo sculpture will be completed. SandFest souvenir shops, vendor and food booths and the Youth Tent, full of activities for kids will also be open then.
Accommodations for the handicapped will be in place. Handicapped parking will be at the end of Sandcastle Drive, and a floored tent and walkway will be provided. Golf carts with drivers will be available at no charge.
A pet tent will feature various activities as well as pet clean-up supplies. All pets must be on leashes while anywhere on the beach.
The five divisions of entries include youth, amateur, pro-amateur, duo masters and solo masters. Any entries, excluding professional, will be accepted until 7 a.m. on Saturday. To avoid standing in line, entry forms can be found at www.texasSandFest. com on the link for each individual contest. Entry fees are listed on the Web forms.
Proceeds from SandFest will benefi t the Port Aransas Community Theater, the Art Center for the Islands, and the Port Aransas Food Pantry .
Bands scheduled to play include South Texas Grassroots, Victims of Circumstance, Todd Dorn, Tammy Miller and others to be announced.
The SandFest photo competition has adult and youth divisions, with prizes for both, so don't forget your camera.
A complete guide to SandFest will be inserted in local editions of the Thursday, April 16, issue of the South Jetty.
The guide will also be available on-site during the event.
Information can also be found www.TexasSandFest.com.