California: Long Beach ( 82nd Great Sand Sculpture Contest)

An event that began in 1932 is still going strong in Long Beach, California today.  Known as the oldest sand sculpture competition in the U.S., the Long Beach Great Sand Sculpture Contest took place at Granada Beach (1 Granada Avenue, Long Beach, CA.) on August 16-17th  from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.  The annual event which is free to spectators brings together the entire Belmont Shore community in a celebration of the arts and includes food, vendors, live music, a kids zone, over 30 amateur teams as well as more than a half dozen pro sculptors with more than 30 years of experience, multiple world records and several U.S. championships between them.


This year’s theme was science fiction based and entitled, “Fizz, Boom, Read!” Anyone could participate in the sculpture contest after paying the $15 participation fee.  Proceeds from the event benefit the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. The amateur teams competed for prizes and prestige on Sunday. They hauled buckets of ocean water and dug sand for hours until their sand mounds were transformed into aliens, turtles, dinosaurs, seashells, cities and sandcastles.


One of the many vendors displaying their goods

One of the many vendors displaying their goods




The professional sculptors crafted a 100-ton centerpiece which they began on Friday and continued working on through the weekend. Dump trucks helped pile up sand and water trucks provided water for them as they shaped and strengthened the massive sculpture.


The professional piece


The amateur pieces

The amateur pieces




This year  the contest drew up to 10,000 beachgoers and continues to grow in popularity each year.  If you are interested in visiting sunny Southern California, why not add the sand sculpture contest to your itinerary and enjoy some amazing albeit temporary works of art.

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