For the 23rd year, Texas SandFest is set to kick off Friday on the beach near mile marker nine in Port Aransas. Eighteen master sculptors and five semi-pros will make creations out of sand and water that will amaze the thousands of people who come out to the event to watch.
“Last year we had about 35,000 people through the gates, so we’re hoping for that big or a little bit bigger for this year,” SandFest Executive Director Lisa Shelton said.
Shelton says last year’s attendance was probably one of the highest the event has ever seen even though it came just eight months after Hurricane Harvey devastated Port Aransas. The disaster was apparently part of the reason some festival goers made the trip.
“They all said that they just wanted to come and check out Port A and show their support,” Shelton said.
Last year’s event only featured sand sculptors from the United States, but this year’s slate of competitors also includes Canadians, Italians, Dutch, and artists from other European countries. The decision to include foreign sculptors is one of the few changes event leaders made to the festival this year.
“Sometimes a well-oiled machine doesn’t really need a whole lot of changes,” Shelton said.
SandFest benefits Port Aransas and surrounding communities in two ways. The local economy soars as thousands of people stay in local hotels, dine in local restaurants, and shop in local stores. The second benefit Port Aransas receives from SandFest is more philanthropic. Shelton says they gave the vast majority of the money collected at the festival, around $315,000, back to the community in the forms of scholarships to graduating high school seniors and grants to non-profit organizations.
“Everything that we make here for the most part goes right back out into the community,” Shelton said.
Sandfest features other attractions than just elaborate sand creations. There’s also a beer garden, live music, and other things. For the full schedule and more information like price of admission, click here .
Kite Fest is also happening this weekend. The two day event featuring all-things-kites runs Saturday and Sunday at the Festival Grounds in Rockport. Here’s the information on that event.