Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
HAMPTON BEACH - The Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Competition in Hampton Beach celebrates 12 years of incredible creations this summer.
The event is today through June 23, and attracts world-famous sand sculptors from all over the world. This year's competition is once again a qualifier for the World Championships of Sand Sculpting; it's the only qualifying event on the East Coast and the largest Masters Competition in the Northeast.
The sculptors use nothing but sand, water, and a few plastic or wooden forms to allow them to initially build their masterpieces up high (the forms are later removed). Past creations have featured elaborately detailed mermaids, mythical creatures, knitting grandmothers, hockey goalies, pirates, giant cats, buddhas, fairy tale characters, and dragons - to name a few.
The Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Championship is the longest running solo master sand sculpting event in New England. Known for its high caliber of competition, the event features several past world champions.
Among the champions returning this year are Carl Jara, former world title holder, from Lyndhurst, Ohio, and Karen Fralich, four-time world champion, from Ontario, Canada.
Back by popular demand are Michel Lepire and his son, Marc Lepire from Charlesbourg, Quebec, Canada. Michel won the People's Choice award in 2011, and is also a former world champion, while Marc took First Place in last year's contest. Other entrants include Lucinda "Sandy Feet" Wierenga from South Padre Island, Texas; Guy-Olivier Deveau from Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; Justin Gordon from Groveland, Mass.; "Attilio" Steve Topazio from Tiverton, R.I.; Gregory Grady and his son, Greg Grady, Hampton Beach; Darlene Duggan of Essex, Mass., Carissa Porcaro of Portland, Maine, and Chris Guinto of Key West, Fla., who is "in it to win it."
The sculptors have a total of 21 hours over three days to complete their sculptures. They are each given their own private plot and 10 tons of sand to work with. Voting and awards given out on the evening of the 23rd, followed by fireworks. The sculptures will remain on display through July 8, and will be lit for night viewing.
Once again, sculptors are competing not only for the Hampton Beach contest's $15,000 in prize money, but also to qualify for the World Championships. The winner here will get an all-expense paid trip to the Worlds, to be held at Fort Myers Beach, Fla., in November.
Prior to the masters beginning their competition, a massive 150-ton sponsor site will be created. Visitors who want to learn how to do sand carving can sign up for free lessons on Friday, June 22, and Saturday, June 23. Lessons will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. and you can only sign up the day of the lesson. Register at the Chamber Office, next to the Sand Sculpture Event.
Every year, visitors are mesmerized by the transformation of tons of sand into creations both fanciful and lifelike. While beach-goers fervently hope for sun, Grady notes that rainy days are perfect days for viewing the sand sculptures. "Rain actually strengthens the sculptures, so if it rains, come on down and see some magic on the beach." To learn more about the Sand Sculpting Competition, and the many other activities at HamptonBeach, go to hamptonbeach.org.