Friday afternoon we met some friends for dinner at McGuirk’s Ocean View Restaurant & Pub on Hampton Beach NH. We knew the annual beach sculpture competition was going on so we got there early and went down to have a look before dinner.
Master sand sculptors from both the United States and Canada participate and it’s totally amazing to see the works of art they create using nothing but sand, water, and lots of talent. The sand sculpture in the photo above stands about 6 feet tall so you quickly realize these sculptures are nothing like you built as a child with your little pail and shovel.
We got there as they were preparing to stop for the evening and watched the sculptors spray down their creations for the night. In the video below they’re using a mixture of 1 gallon of Elmer’s glue to 3 gallons of water to form a coating on the outside and protect the works from wind and rain erosion overnight. The water/glue mixture forms a thin coating on the outside sort of like the candy coating on an M & M.
Here’s a few of the pieces we saw. The one below is a pair of some sort of fantasy, horse like animals holding a cone between them. It becomes more amazing when you know these are just sand and water; they are not allowed to mix anything with the sand to make it hold together better but they do get to coat the outside like the video shows above.
The car sculpture below was my favorite. Each contestant is supplied with 10 tons of special sand they haul in especially for this event. The sand comes from a New Hampshire quarry and has flatter grains than the regular, rounded beach sand and sticks together better. Each sculptor also gets two 55 gallon drums of water to wet their sand with.
In the photo below you can see how each sculpture starts out. The contestants fill a wooden or plastic form with sand, wet it down, and then tamp the sand firmly to form a more solid mass to work with. They then stack the forms on top of each other or spread them out depending on the size and height of the sculpture they intend to create. After all the sand is in place and wet down they remove the wooden forms and begin sculpting the big blocks of sand.
You have to look closely at the one below to see that it’s a large mask of some sort laying at a 45 degree angle. This sculpture competition is a time event and each artist can work up to 8 hours a day for 3 days on their entry. It’s pretty fascinating to watch the whole process unfold from start to finish.
These amazing sand creations will be on display at Hampton Beach through July the 8th and are lit for night viewing. Tonight at 8:00 PM is the awards ceremony so we’ll know who won. There are 5 prizes with 1st prize worth $3,000, 2nd through 5th place for lesser amounts, and the People’s Choice award getting a check for $500. There’s also a big fireworks show at 9:30 PM to close out the competition.
Hampton Beach is only about 12 miles from Portsmouth so it’s easy for us to hop in the car and drive down for a visit or a day at the beach. Lots of happy people own second homes and condos on the New Hampshire Seacoast. If that’s something you’ve ever thought of take a look at NewHampshireMaineRealEstate.com to see what’s available now.
There are lots of interesting and fun things to do going on the in New Hampshire Seacoast almost every day. Sometimes it’s fun to just enjoy walking around downtown Portsmouth and people watching.