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Galveston Sandcastle Competition Set to Carve Out Sandy Success

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The American Institute of Architects (AIA) SandCastle Competition 2017 is about to take place in Galveston on June 3 of this year. Designed as a fundraising event for AIA Houston and ArCH Foundation, the competition draws sand artists from all over the U.S. to compete in the event, which is recognized as one of the top five revenue-generating events for the city.

More than 60 teams are entered in this year’s competition, with their eyes on the prize and their sand plans in place. To the victor goes the prestigious Golden Bucket Award. Beginning months in advance, architectural firms develop designs and plans, start generating their ideas and assign tasks for the day-of. And during the event, the participants can be seen stretched across the Galveston beachfront, sculpting their piles of sand meticulously and working for the full five-hour competition, non-stop. To give you an idea on just how intricate some of their models can be, Steven Bliss posted the following video to his YouTube channel from the 2011 competition, featuring entrants that carved out sandy success on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Each year, judging of the sculptures is based on originality of concept, the ability to artistically execute their plan, level of technical difficulty, carving technique, and making use of the site. Besides top honors, awards are also given for recognition in Most Complex, Best Traditional, That’s Entertainment, Stars & Stripes, Most Lifelike/Realistic, Best Architectural, and Most Hilarious, together with ancillary awards for best team t-shirt design, best costume, best team signage, and public favorite. There’s fun to be had, sand to be carved, and castles to be built at the 2017 AIA Sandcastle Competition on June 3 in Galveston! Seize the day and feel some sand between your toes.


AIA Houston