Parksville Beach looks different from the past 30 days since the Quality Foods Canadian Open Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition came to a close on August 14.
Organizers, the Parksville Beach Festival Society report that the visitor count through the gates totaled 82,784.
“These are great numbers, but represent a decline of 16 per cent in comparison to last year’s tally,” said president Cheryl Dill.
Dill believes this decline is attributed to July’s rainy, cool weather and the economic challenges in the United States.
“Local hoteliers note that they have seen fewer U.S. visitors this year,” said Dill.
New Beach Festival events this year included the Artisans at the Beach and the Big Splash Entertainment Weekend.
Dill said these events were well received but overall turnout was less than expected.
“We will evaluate whether we can afford to offer these free events in 2012,” Dill said.
She noted the gate donations will be tallied and the Beach Festival Society donates a portion of the funds to various organizations that provided volunteers to greet the public during the sand sculpting exhibition.
Visitors through the gate over the 30 days of exhibition were able to vote for their favorite sculptures to determine the People’s Choice Award for solo and team sculptures.
The Winning Soloist: Connected, by Edith Van De Wetering from The Netherlands. The Winning Team: Jungle Jazz by Sandboxers, from Victoria.
Dill said that the success of this year’s event is a result of hard work from their Board directors and staff, several volunteers, and the generous donations from many local organizations and businesses.
“Successful events like this contribute to the social and economic growth for our community,” she said. The Parksville Beach Festival Society also contributes to the sustainability and improvements of Parksville’s Community Park. To get involved, visit www.parksvillebeachfest.ca.