SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — The scattered remains of engraved sand sculptured hearts and large, themed sand sculptures can be found spread throughout this once festive, tourist attraction.

Several sand sculptures in the Holiday Sandcastle Village on South Padre Island suffered significant damage this weekend by vandals.

“It’s terrible,” sandcastle village founder and business owner Lucinda “Sandy Feet” Wierenga said with a sigh. “It made me so sad.”

Wierenga said what bothers her most is that the vandal or vandals most likely had to work very hard to destroy the sand sculptures.

“We expect people to kind of pick at it,” Wierenga explained. “That’s just human nature, but this is somebody who worked really hard to do massive destruction because that was really solid, machine-pounded sand sculpture.”

In May, Wierenga, along with three other sand sculptors, created a tribute wall sand sculpture with engraved sand sculpted hearts that showcased the names of each Port Isabel High School graduate.

The site had that artwork, as well as close to 13 sand sculptures that were originally created in October 2019 for Christmas and were then transformed for Valentine’s Day.

According to Wierenga, the sand sculptures aren’t easy to push over and damage can’t be made within a few minutes.

“They were there for a while, and it’s sad that nobody noticed, called them on it or shot video or anything,” she said. “It’s just destruction.”

Wierenga said she visited the Holiday Sandcastle Village almost every day.

She thinks the damage occurred Friday night.

“I haven’t gone in the last two days,” Wierenga said on Monday. “I was just too discouraged and there might be even more damage now. It seems like once people kind of break into something, then the other people follow and just do more of the same so it’s just super discouraging.”

Wierenga said she and her team were hopeful that people would respect the sand sculptures, but they’re not going to give up on the work they’ve done.

“We’re going to get back there and do repairs,” she said. “We just need to figure out a shade situation because it’s just really too hot to work out there so it’s just regrouping at the moment.”

According to Wierenga, she and the other sand sculptors have discussed creating something special in celebration of the Fourth of July.

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“It’s a momentary setback,” Wierenga said. “We appreciate all the community has done in support of our efforts so far and we’re grateful for anything they can continue to help us with.”