An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

September 26, 2010

Castles Made of Sand

These photos were taken at the 2010 North American Sandsculpting Championship, part of the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival which celebrates the return of the beach to the locals, while also trying to wring out a few more dollars from the season. I must say it was nice to have the beach less crowded and being after Labor Day to legally take dogs there as well. Anyway, the sandsculpting was amazing, with artists from all over the world entering in either the solo or doubles category. I am still not sure how it is done, and I marvel at the work involved, especially when you consider its impermanence.

Sand Sculptors (3)

Poor Planning by Walter McDonald (Texas)

Poor Planning

Love Never Grows Old by John Gowdy (Italy)

Love Never Grows Old

This was one of several Neptunes, but I did not record the title of the piece, but it was created by Sudarsan Pattnaik of India

Neptune 2

Glory Lost by Ilya Filimonstev (Russia)

Glory Lost

This was not the solo winner, but was my favorite, Migrations by Lucinda Wierenga of Texas.



Flamenco by Thomas Koet and Jill Harris (USA)

Flamenco (2)

Don't Worry Mum, It's Only a Jet Fighter by Joris Kivits and Michela Ciappini (Netherlands)
If you have ever been to Va. Beach, you know where the title comes from.

Don't Worry Mum, It's Only a Jet Fighter

Old Navy by Meredith Corson and Dan Doubleday (USA)

Old Navy

Neptune Saves the Day by Sandis Kondrats and Uldis Zarins (Latvia)

Neptune Saves the Day

Celtic Sisters by Karen Fralich (Canada) and Eva "Sue" McGrew (USA)

Celtic Sisters

The Path of Life Dan Belcher (USA) and Benjamin Probanza (Mexico)

The Path of Life

Together Forever by Jacinthe Trudel and Jonathan Bouchard (Canada)
This is a close up of my favorite double.

Together Forever

You can see the rest of my set here, and some night time shots from fellow local blogger David here and here.


  1. Les, outstanding pictures. You really captured the detail and artisanship of this amazing work. Thanks for the shout out for my blog.

  2. Impressive sculpting! How did the artists create those ruffles?!

  3. Having grown up in a "tourist trap" beach in New England, this reminds me of the annual celebration when the visitors would leave and we had the beach to ourselves again. Similarly, it was also the time of year when it was getting colder and the sand castle competitions came....what a beautiful thing to experience.

  4. Wow there were some talented artists there this year Les. I'm always in awe of people with talent like this. Thanks for sharing. :)

  5. Those sand sculptures are truly amazing.

  6. Those are amazing. I love the old couple.

    And congratulations on your GGW photo award!

  7. Amazing aren't they! The little kid in me totally loves the dragon~gail

  8. I'm always left flabbergasted at the dedication these people have for something so's so amazing!

  9. More like sand sculpture – amazing! My kids and their cousins often enter the sand castle contest on Nantucket Island. I’ll have to show them these creations. I love the face on that dragon especially. Fabulous photos.

  10. It is amazing what people can do with sand. I have never seen a sand art exhibit in person but the pics I have seen, Such as these, makes me want to hunt one down and check it out some time. My Sister and Law was in VA Beach this past weekend with a craft event showing their art work. Was this going on this past weekend?

  11. David,
    Thank you for the comments and you are welcome for the shout out.

    I am not sure how they do it, but I know spay bottles of water are involved.

    As much as we like the tourism dollars, it is nice to have the beach back and to be able to get a seat in the restaurants.

    Yes there was some talent on the beach.

    Yes they are amazing.

    Thank you. I was very pleased with the award.

    I wish I could have showed you the whole thing.

    It kind of reminded me of the Buddist monks and their sand paintings.

    I hope they get inspired.

    Yes it was last weekend. I may have seen your sister-in-law's art.


  12. I love stuff like this. Why don't I see this in Nebraska? Two years ago I saw snow sculptures in Chicago that were pretty neat like these. I'm the kind of guy that likes mouth bangjos, spoon music, blue man group (in the beginning), butter sculpture....

  13. "Migrations" is definitely a winner in my book. We are on the opposite schedule here and enjoy summer when 40,000+ UW students leave town.