The Great Sand Sculpture Contest - NBC Southern California

The Great Sand Sculpture Contest

A whimsically gritty -- as in sand grit -- tradition marks eight decades.

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    The Great Sand Sculpture Contest
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    Ooh/aah over the 80th annual Great Sand Sculpture Contest in Long Beach on Saturday, Aug. 11 and Sunday, Aug. 12.

    It starts with a bucket.

    And, if you're like us, it ends with a bucket, too. There's nothing wrong, of course, with going the basic route when it comes to sand castle and sand sculpture building; a few well-placed buckets of sand can make a rather wonderful tower or turret or battlement.

    But then you have the artists who make for Long Beach every August and the annual Great Sand Sculpture Contest. They tend not to go for bucket shapes but rather sinuous, serpentine curves and tall, teetering structures and round oblongs and whimsical designs. They have to; this is a competition that has been around for 80 years, so it attracts people who know their way around a little H2O, a little sea foam, and a little sand.

    "Top professional sand sculptors and corporate teams" will be out in their barefeet and sunscreen on Saturday, Aug. 11 and Sunday, Aug. 12 shaping and rebuilding and "aw darn"-ing when their dragon's head gets smooshed by a surprise wave. It's an artform, for sure, and a rather moving one at that; figure that most sand sculptures last a few good hours or days at best.

    The "judging & sculpting" is on the 11th, note, while the viewing goes down on the 12th. So if you want to see the artists at work, get to Granada Beach on Saturday.

    What would you like to see portrayed in damp sand? We think we'd like to see Randy's Donuts. How would that massive donut work? Could it be done? Or, perhaps since this is Long Beach, the famous Queen Mary stacks? Talented sculptors, we put the challenge to you. We don't even mind if you break out a bucket or two for a little needed assistance.

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