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It's sand-tastic! Sand Sculpting Championship returns to Virginia Beach

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Posted at 4:29 AM, Sep 23, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Beautiful works of art made entirely...of sand!

The International Sand Sculpting Championship is back and visitors can check out the intricate creations starting Friday, September 24.

26 of the world's best sand sculptors began working on their sculptures just feet from the Atlantic Ocean earlier this week, with three days to build and shape a work of art worthy of cash prizes. Some competitors work by themselves while others work with a partner.

"The name of my piece is The Good Knight. Sort of a play on words. The knight has come home and has a pet baby dragon," said Karen Fralich, a competitor from Guelph, Ontario.

It all takes place under a tent at 7th Street called the 'Land of Sand.'

A ten-day viewing period starts Friday. Visitors can pay $5 to see the sculptures up close. It's free for kids 12 and under. The area is also wheelchair and stroller accessible, but pets aren't allowed.

Sand sculpting clinics are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, September 25-26.

"It's perfect. Absolutely. When you come to the beach with your family, just bring them by, you'll be out of the elements. It's nice here," said Thomas Koet, a competitor born and raised in the Netherlands, but now living in Florida.

The championship is part of the Neptune Festival's Boardwalk Weekend, featuring art, food and music stretching from 6th to 36th Streets. The festival's Grand Parade is scheduled for September 25.

"In a normal year, we have over 400,000 people who come down to the boardwalk to come see the Boardwalk Weekend, see the sand sculptures, see everything we've got going on and that amounts to about $23.5 million in economic impact," said Melanie Gazzolo, Director of Marketing for the Neptune Festival.

The Neptune Festival returned to Virginia Beach this year after it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.