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World sand event eyes Parksville

Parksville could see the world’s top sand sculptors here. - News photo by Barb Gilles
Parksville could see the world’s top sand sculptors here.
— image credit: News photo by Barb Gilles

If the director of the World Championship of Sand Sculpting has his way, Parksville could play host to the worlds in the not too distant future.

That plan, however, could mean significantly changing the city’s successful event, and the local event manager, Trish Smith, said that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

Charlie Beaulieu, who began sand sculpting 29 years ago on the beaches in Northwest Washington State, was in Parksville to help kick off this year’s Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting competition and exhibition. The Parksville competition, which took place July 14 and 15, is an official qualifying event for the World Championship of Sand Sculpting, scheduled to take place in Fort Myers Beach, Florida in November. Beaulieu told The News this weekend, however, that there are some hick-ups with that venue.

Back on July 13 at a welcoming party for the sculptors and sponsors, Beaulieu stated Parksville had the potential to host the worlds and given that the worlds were born in Canada he would love to see them return to this country.

“Parksville hosts a premier event. It is run well and there is great community support and there’s a possibility the worlds could be brought here,” he admitted.

On August 11, he confessed organizers are still trying to iron things out with their sponsors in Florida and he, along with his business partner Suzanne Altamare, is becoming increasingly frustrated with them to the point that they may abandon that venue altogether. He said the sponsors are attempting to change the way the event is run and he isn’t about to sacrifice the good reputation associated with the World Championship of Sand Sculpting.

“The name represents all sculptors of the world and I have worked hard to make sure the sculptors are represented properly.  Months before the event they (the sponsors) are trying to be greedy and I don’t want anything to do with that,” he confessed.

He said if they drop the Florida event it will be up for grabs and Parksville could potentially take it on.

“Anything is possible.  I’m not ruling anything out but we have to look at all the offers on the table,” he stated.

Beaulieu said he would need to get a proposal from Trish Smith the event manager for the Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition and pointed to the one obstacle that could get in the way.

“The biggest hold back is the size of the space … it is not large enough.”

He said the area where beach volleyball takes place has enough room and that space would need to be secured for a world competition to be held at Parksville beach.

“I’d love to bring it back to Canada. It started in White Rock and Parksville is one of the top notch competitions around,” he agreed.

He said they have a list of criteria that needs to be met before a venue is chosen for the worlds and on that list is how well the sculptors are treated and Beaulieu said Parksville ranks right up there.

He said as far as location goes Parksville has a leg up on the other contenders.

“Parksville is God’s country. It would be a beautiful spot for the worlds,” Beaulieu stated.

Smith, however, said Monday Beaulieu only mentioned such a possibility to her a few months ago and it hasn’t come up formally since. She told The News to change Parksville’s current event could mean the loss of significant community support. As it stands today, she said the event garners a lot of business and city support, as it draws a lot of people to the downtown area.

“We are in our current location because we can’t move to the larger volleyball court,” Smith explained, noting the organizers of other events have done a lot to accommodate the sand sculpting exhibition.

“It would upset a lot of people,” she added.

As well, the local event needs the summer months and the extended exhibition time to be able to pay for the event. Should the worlds maintain its November date, Smith said Parksville probably wouldn’t be the best site, considering the winter weather.

Smith didn’t rule out hosting the world event, however, but noted that it would have to change significantly and the local Beach Festival board would have to discuss it in depth, as playing host has plenty of ramifications.

Beaulieu has sculpted all over the globe working for many prestigious clients and celebrities.  He is known for his innovative and creative Ideas and his high standards.

He said another challenge the world of sand sculpting faces is the dwindling number of master sculptors.

“The masters are getting older and there is not a lot of young talent coming in.”

Beaulieu will be competing this weekend Stateside at The Tournament of Champions at the Commons Mall parking lot in Federal Way, Washington.

From August 16 through September 3 a select group of the top stars in the world of temporary and museum-quality art will showcase their talents in the largest exhibition of its kind in North America.

He said the winners of the Parksville event who qualified for the worlds in Florida need not worry about that event not happening.

 

“In the worst case scenario the winner will just roll over to the next year’s event.”

 

 

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