Attendance at this year's Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Exhibition in Parksville Community Park is on pace to shatter last year's record numbers.

Attendance at Parksville Beachfest on pace to shatter last year’s record

There are also free concerts and a Beach Blanket Bingo event this weekend as part of Beachfest

Things With Wings is really flying high.

Attendance is up a whopping 49 per cent this year at the Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition, also known as Parksville Beachfest.

And that’s in comparison to last year, which was a record year for attendance. The Things With Wings theme expertly translated by the professional sculptors into impressive sand art, along with great weather and increased promotional efforts, seem to be the big factors in the increase in attendance this year.

As of Sunday night, 17 days into the 38-day Beachfest, 68,720 people have been through the gates to see the sandcastles. At end of the festival last year, a record 104,427 attended. Parksville Beach Festival Society president Cheryl Dill said besides tracking attendance, volunteers are also surveying the public to capture their feedback to understand their travel plans and activities while in Parksville.

“The favourable weather, combined with good promotional efforts, positive feedback and strong travel traffic have lead to such positive statistics in 2016,” said Dill. “The Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Exhibition is incredibly popular this year, breaking every attendance record to date. The free summer outdoor concerts continue to be a local favourite. We are pleased with public support.”

Society members are also asking people to make sure they vote for their favourite sand sculpture. The People’s Choice Award will be announced Aug. 21.

Free concerts coming this weekend (all Beachfest activities are in Parksville Community Park): Friday, August 5, 6:30-8:30 p.m. — featuring local band, Eddie and the Funk, with favorites from 70s, 80s and 90s. Saturday, August 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m. — Boondock, country and classic rock.

On Sunday from 1-3 p.m. there’s a new event scheduled — Beach Blanket Bingo.

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