Popular Sandcastle Days marking 30th anniversary on South Padre Island

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — It was 30 years ago already.

That’s when master sand sculptors Walter McDonald (aka Amazin Walter) and Lucinda Wierenga (aka Sandy Feet) started Sandcastle Days as a way to show off the magical sculpting qualities of SPI sand.

The purpose also was to bring awareness to protecting the coastal shores.

And the event is stronger and bigger than ever.

“This is a week full of fun,” Wierenga says. “I can hardly wait. I look forward to this all year. All these sculptors are my friends. I have competed against them and worked with them. It is a thrill to invite them to my home beach and play in the sand here.”

There was a reason the event was started in October.

“That is a slow time, but it is so beautiful here,” she says. “The weather is great and the water is warm. This draws attention to the wonderful sand for sand castling and the whole concept of unlittering.”

Wierenga says it is key to keep the beaches clean and the sculptors hope their efforts make a difference.

“We find a lot of trash when we are building sand sculptures,” she says. “We are responsible for what we bring to the beach and to put that stuff back or throw it away.”

Over the years, this free event has grown from a local celebration to a qualifying event for the World Championships of Sand Sculpting.

This year’s event boasts two more sculpting teams, live music, art booths and great food. This year, there will be 12 professional teams, that is more than the 10 in previous years. The west coast will be well represented along with teams from Canada and beyond.

It is one of the longest-running festivals of the country for sand sculpting.

They are proud to have been involved in every single one of those 30 years, Wierenga says.

If you miss the event this weekend, Wierenga said, don’t fret.

“If the weather holds out, these sculptures will last as much as weeks after,” Wierenga says. “If they can’t make it for the contest, come on out after. After the event, the crowds have left, so wander through the sculptures like an art gallery.”

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Activities are located at Clayton’s Beach Bar

Sandcastle Days Mercado Open from 9 a.m. to close Thursday to Sunday

THURSDAY

Doors Open: 9 a.m.

>> Official start Masters of Sand Competition

>> Join the Masters, listen to music and watch them create Unforgettable Sand Art

FRIDAY

Doors Open: 9 a.m.

>> Masters of Sand continue sculpting

Registration Open – Amateur competition includes: Kids, Family, Groups and Singles 1 to 5 p.m.

>> T-Shirt Sales Open

>> Sandcastle Days Mercado

>> Live Bands on Stage At Clayton’s

Saturday

Doors Open: 9 a.m.

>> Master Sand Sculpting competition final day!

>> Sandcastle Days Mercado Open 9 a.m. to Close

>> Children Water Slides, Bouncer & Bull Riding Open

>> Amateur Registration open at 9 a.m.

Amateur competition begins at 10 a.m., ends at 3 p.m. / Kids, Family, Group or Singles Castle welcome

>> Unlitter Campaign 8th Annual Trash & Show at 4 p.m.

>> Judging for Amateur and Masters Divisions

>> Awards Ceremony for Amateur and Masters Divisions

>> Live Bands on Stage at Clayton’s

Sunday

Doors Open: 9 a.m. 

>> Sandcastle Days Mercado

>> Children Water Slides, Bouncer & Bull Riding Open

>> Enjoy the Sand Monuments, Listen to music and play the day away

>> Spread The Word Family Fun For All Ages

>> People’s Choice Awards at 3 p.m.