Hosted by Quality Foods and part of Parksville Beachfest, Parksville’s Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition is an annual event that draws tens of thousands from all over. The contest is a world-class sand sculpting affair, drawing master sand sculptors from all over the world, and it’s a part of the World Championship of Sand Sculpting.
Sculptors must work quickly and efficiently, building their masterpieces in only 30 hours across four days. They work using nothing but sand and water. The first-place winner is guaranteed a spot in the World Championships of Sand Sculpting, with hotels and airfare paid, in addition to a stipend. The second and third-place winners have their names put in a draw to send them if space allows.
Starting in 1982, the competition began as part of BC Open. That year, a whopping 100 people came to witness the sand sculptures, a number that led the local papers to call the event a “great success.” The competition and exhibition are now widely attended, with as many as 130,149 visitors in 2017. This contest is the only one in the country that qualifies as part of the World Championship of Sand Sculpting.
In addition to dazzling the public with world-class sand sculptures each year, this competition and exhibition together offer enormous support to local volunteer community groups, bringing in about $63,000 annually. Entry is by donation, with the suggested at $4 per person.
This year, master sculptors crafted their works according to the competition’s 2019 theme of Myths and Legends, in honour of the world’s many belief systems and stories that have existed over time and across cultures. The 2019 competition started on July 12th, and it runs until August 18. The winners of the competition were announced in July, but the exhibition remains open until the middle of August, this year until August 18th, and it is open every day from 9 am to 9 pm.