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Sand sculpting event to celebrate 30 years

This year's sand sculpting event in Parksville will be something extra special
Last year’s Canadian Open Sand Sculpting competition drew more than 82

The sand sculptors are confirmed and the entertainment and activities are coming together for this summer’s party on Parksville beach.

Though it’s officially the 13th annual Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition, this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the first event, noted Cheryl Dill, president of the beach festival society that organizes it.

The main opening competition is July 14 and 15, with the exhibition extended to five weeks this summer to end on Sunday, August 19, the day of Kidfest and the Quality Foods Children’s Sandcastle Competition.

New this year will be a community sculpting event on the opening weekend in the bigger volleyball sand court, where there will be experts on hand to teach people some of the secrets of the art.

There will also be an ‘80s beach dance party on Aug. 11 and, instead of a single big music weekend, there will be live music in the gazebo every day with a range of styles and talents from buskers to headliners.

The successful Artisans at the Beach market will be expanded to two days, July 28 and 29.

Last year the four week exhibition welcomed over 82,000 through the gates and almost hit 100,000 during the five week run the previous year.

Dill said the addition of Trish Smith as a full time manager last year means they are a step ahead this year with good systems in place, but it also helps that the world’s best sculptors are eager to come to the Canadian qualifier for the world championships.

The competitive sculptors are coming from across the country, the U.S., Spain, and for the first time Australia and they will also have Charlie Beaulieu carving the sponsor’s berm for example.

Beaulieu is director of the World Championships in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, winner of 12 world titles and seven Guinness book records. Dill said he’d heard so many good things about the Parksville event he asked to come.

Though it’s still a couple months away, organizers encourage artisans, musicians and volunteers to contact them soon to take part. Check or call 250-951-2678.