Each June, the beach town of Hampton, NH has a sand sculpting contest. Artists from all over the US and Canada come, by invitation only, to sculpt the sand, and try to win up to $3,000 in prize money. The sculptors have only three days to make their creation before the judges swoop in to make their decisions. Not only can a sculpture win 1st through 5th place, regular people can vote for their favorite to choose the People’s Choice Award.
The sculpting happens mid-June each year, and the sculptures remain standing for viewing until the end of June. They even light them up at night. Doesn’t it sound nice to visit the beach at night, hearing the waves crashing in the background and viewing these masterpieces? It is. In fact, any time of day is nice to see the sculptures.
I have seen the sculptures many times now and can recommend making an event of going to visit if you will be relatively close by in the second half of June. There is a lot more to do in the area such as spend some time on the beach, go for a bike ride along the coast, see a show at the Casino Ballroom, eat out, visit nearby Portsmouth, and so much more.
How it Began
Back in 2000, Gregory Grady was commissioned to create a very large sand sculpture of the new New Hampshire quarter. It was so successful, that the following year, he held the first annual sand sculpture contest on Hampton Beach. Since then, this event has attracted many of the world’s top sculptors. And the only way to participate as a sculptor is to be invited.
How the Sculptures Stay Standing
Two hundred tons of sand is trucked in for this event. The sculptors use only sand and water to make their sculptures. Once they are done, they spray the sculptures with a mixture of water and regular glue like children use in school to help them brave the elements. They also place several very small metal rods on top of the sculptures to deter birds from landing on them.