Going to the beach is awesome, one thing if you have ever gone you probably have done is build a sand castle. They are not hard, though here is some more on building sand castles when you are at the beach.
When did people start building sand castles?
On a visit to the seaside it is a child’s delight to build a sand castle, and it must be said, there are quite a few adults who also enjoy it. It is impossible to say when the first child played the game of trying to stop the tide coming in on a sandy beach by building an embankment of sand or a tower of sand with a moat around it. But the use of the words Sand Castle to describe this activity, as far as we can establish, only came into use in print in the 19th century. The first mentions of sand castles in print dates to mid-1800’s, so who knows how long people have been making sand castles really.
It is believed that the ancient Egyptians produced a sand sculpture version of the pyramids. It is also believed that Balaram Das, an Indian poet, built a sand sculpture in the 14th century. These conjunctures are unfounded and do not really have strong evidences that validate their accuracy.
It was not until the nineteenth century that the first documented sand and serious sand sculpture was built. The first known sand sculptures are those from Atlantic City in New Jersey. At this time, sand sculpting became a lucrative profession as spectators and passersby often give money to sculptors. Thus, a lot of people began venturing into the business to the point that it became a nuisance.
The 20th century saw a tremendous increase in the popularity of the art of sand sculpting. Sand sculptures were built around beachside resorts. More so, competitions were often held which resulted in a dramatic increase of the level of art created. These competitions started offering nice prices which attracted across the globe.
Sand sculpting competitions do not only attract sculptors from different geographical regions, they also do attract spectators from across the world. This has also fueled sand sculpting and even made it more outstanding in the world today. More and more countries of the world have now become interested in sculpting such that now there are various sand sculpting competitions across the world.
Best Sand Castle Competitions in the United States
SandSations Sandcastle Competition
Long Beach, Washington
Rules for the annual SandSations Sandcastle Competition include an emphatic “All Teams Must Have Fun!!!” This event, at the foot of southwest Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula, draws serious competitors but retains an endearing small-town flavor. A beach bonfire blazes, the Kiwanis Club provides free hot dogs, and the organizers of the Sand Flea Pet Parade vow, “Prizes and notoriety guaranteed!” sandsationslongbeach.com
U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition
Imperial Beach, California
Professional sand carvers (yes, such people exist) converge every year on Imperial Beach, just south of San Diego, for the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition. Amateurs, including kids, also get to show off their sculpting skills. The festival pretty much takes over the little town. Live music and more than 140 vendors add to the carnival atmosphere; sandiego.org
International Sand sculpting Championship
Virginia Beach, Virginia
The city says farewell to its summer season with one last beachfront bash, the Neptune Festival. The sprawling mega party includes such disparate events as a surfing championship, a triathlon, a wine festival, fireworks―and the popular International Sand sculpting Championship. As at all big-time competitions, the creations in the professional division go way beyond simple castles, turning mere sand and water into true art; neptunefestival.com.
Sand Castle Days
South Padre Island, Texas
Traveling pros known as “Masters of Sand” create museum-worthy sculptures during Sand Castle Days. On the same stretch of soft, white sand, hundreds of amateurs―some serious, some decidedly not―give free rein to their own creativity. Those who aspire to challenge the Masters may wish to arrive early for free sand castle lessons; sandcastledays.com.
American Sandsculpting Championship Festival
Fort Myers Beach, Florida
“The World’s Safest Beach” becomes a fantasyland during the amazing American Sandsculpting Championship Festival. (The local chamber of commerce promotes the “safest” claim because of the shallow water and lack of undertow.) Between the pros and various divisions of amateurs, somebody’s doing imaginative things with sand every day of the weeklong festival; fortmyersbeach.org
Masters Sandsculpting Classic
Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
This invitation-only event for master sand sculptors produces exquisite works of art that seem too elaborate, too finely detailed to be made of mere water and sand. (Completed creations do get sprayed with a solution of water and glue to keep them standing for the week or so that they remain on display―illuminated for night viewing.) Local sand-shaper Greg Grady co-organizes the event and, with his “Grady Bunch,” creates a large collection of sculptures saluting the event’s sponsors; hamptonbeach.org
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Sandcastle Day began in 1964, partly as a way of helping the town recover from a tsunami the previous year. Everyone from kids to professionals competes in various divisions. Sculptors start right after the morning high tide, work frantically to turn their visions into reality in just a few hours, then watch their creations wash away with the next high tide. So, goes life on the beach; cannonbeach.org
Sand Sculpture Contest
Point Reyes National Seashore, California
The participants in the strictly amateur Sand Sculpture Contest, typically held over Labor Day weekend, don’t merely take inspiration from the ruggedly scenic surroundings. They take the surroundings themselves. Shells, seaweed, driftwood, and other decorative detritus often wind up incorporated into the sand structures. The sculpting takes place at Drakes Beach, about an hour north of San Francisco; nps.gov
AIA Sandcastle Contest
Galveston, Texas What kind of beach castle would an architect build? Spectators find out at the AIA Sandcastle Competition. The 60-some competing teams consist of architects, designers, engineers, and contractors. The event takes place at East Beach on the tip of Galveston Island each June; aiasandcastle.com.
There are many many more across the country and world. This is just a sample.
Equipment needed to build a sand castle
The most important thing needed to build a sandcastle is sand. The two most common types of sand used are “beach” sand and quarry sand.
Some of the basic tools include:
small, straight-edge tool of some kind
a bucket of water to help keep sand moist
things to decorate your castle
Tips and Tricks in building a sand castle
It can be tricky to make a sandcastle at first that doesn’t completely crumble, but here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
The best sand to use is coarse sand, meaning that individual granduals should have angled edges because they are easier to compact together.
Sand should stay relatively moist while building your sandcastle
Work from the bottom up, which will help prevent your sandcastle from falling
Sometimes a sketch helps before you actually start, just so you know where you’re heading
Pick a site close to water so that the sand will start off somewhat moist, but not too close as you don’t want waves to ruin your sandcastle.
Some Common Concerns About Finished Sandcastles
After completing a sandcastle, it’s hard not to look at it and wonder how long it will last. Luckily, one of the only things you have to worry about is a reckless set of feet. Possible destruction caused by elements like wind and rain are misguided.
Here is a list of possible threats and the truth:
Rain: nothing bad will happen to your sandcastle if it rains lightly; the only concern should be heavy rain.
Wind: sandcastles can normally withstand Force 7 winds
Time: sculptures can last for months, even years; the record in California is two years.
Sandcastles are a joy to build, and an excellent way to spend time on the beach!
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