Parksville’s Beach Festival is over for another year. The final count is in for number of visitors through the gates as well as the results of the People’s Choice Awards for best sand sculptures.
This summer’s event saw 115,188 visitors through the gates of the 2019 Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Exhibitions. Beach Festival organizers report that this is down slightly from the 2018 total, which saw 125,908 people through the exhibition’s gates.
The festival opened to the public on July 12, and closed its gates on Sunday, Aug. 18. Spectators on the first weekend watched internationally acclaimed sand sculpting artists carve sculptures in the theme of ‘Myths & Legends’.
Most of the judging takes place on opening weekend after the carving, but one category stretches throughout the summer: the People’s Choice awards.
More than 100,000 votes were recorded during the five weeks.
Taking home the People’s Choice Award in the solo category is Peter Vogelaar of Winlaw, B.C., for his sculpture entitled Beneath the Waves.
This isn’t Vogelaar’s first victory at Beach Festival – in 2018 he took home the top prize in the solo category for his sculpture Hendrix Live – Wild Thing.
In the doubles category of this year’s People’s Choice Award, Jacinthe Trudel and Jonathan Bouchard of St Calixte, Que., took home the prize for their sculpture entitled Believe.
Trudel and Bouchard won big this year with Believe, which also placed first overall in the doubles category.
“These are highly coveted awards amongst the master sculptors in our competition,” said Parksville Beach Festival Society president Cheryl Dill.
“People had many favorites but the winners were clear, which featured mermaids, dragons and sand castles,” said Dill.
The society also aims to give back to the community, allocating 25 per cent of their gate proceeds to community projects and philanthropic groups. The society also donates to support the upkeep of the Parksville Community Park.
Greeters at the gate throughout the festival represented 25 different not-for-profit organizations in the Parksville area, and all organizations represented will receive donations from the Parksville Beach Festival Society. The exact numbers have yet to be determined.
Since 1999, the society reports donating a total of $620,000 to non-profit organizations and community projects, including construction of the park gazebo and community signs.
This year, funds will also go towards the construction of a new stage in the park, dubbed Parksville’s Outdoor Performance Theatre. The society hopes to begin construction on the stage in summer of 2020.