By Steve Jusseaume
Hampton Union, Tuesday, June 24, 2003
HAMPTON BEACH - Marc Lepire, of Quebec, Canada, was named first-place winner at the third annual Master Sand Sculpting Competition at Hampton Beach this weekend.
Lepire’s creation, "Like a Fish in Water," featured an intricately carved circular fish tank. The winners were announced Friday evening at the Sea Shell Stage, before a large crowd of visitors.
A couple hundred tons of sand, 12 artists, two days ... and the result was a dozen beautifully crafted pieces of sand art created by artists from throughout the United States, Canada and beyond.
"These are beautiful, very nice," offered one visitor, Angelo Puglisi, who visited the beach from Danville. "These sculptures look like they’re-made of cement; they look so solid."
He brother, Gino, has lived in Hampton the past three years and wouldn’t miss the competition.
"I come down every year; it’s a lot of fun to watch the artists gradually create something out of what, in the beginning, is just a pile of sand," he said.
WERZ had a crew in town for the awards ceremony, as did WMUR out of Manchester. Miss Hampton Beach 2002 Breanne Silvi passed out brochures, answered questions and posed for photographs.
"It’s great to be back in town," said the George Mason University freshman.
While spectators gazed at the sculptures, took pictures and asked questions, the New Hampshire State Lottery was doing a brisk business, selling tickets to this weekend’s $95 million Powerball lottery and $2.9 million Tri-State Lottery.
The promotion was set up by Marketing Director Maura McCann, and included free beach hats, towels, bags, umbrellas and radios for anyone who purchased $10 or more in lottery tickets.
"We’ve been here two days, and business is very good," McCann said.
But the focus for most people at the beach was the sand sculptures. At 8 p.m., prizes were awarded to the top five pieces, plus the peoples’ choice and the artists’ favorite.
Dan Doubleday, of Florida, who won in 2001, placed second this year with "Asleep at the Wheel;" Justin Gordon, of Massachusetts, placed third with "The Angel over Agony;" Meredith Corson took fourth with "One Armed Bandit," and Texas resident Fred Mallet took fifth place with "Bee Careful."
Mallet was also named Sculptors’ Choice winner, and Lepire the Peoples’ Choice winner.
A total of $10,000 in prize money was awarded this year.
The 12 pieces of art work will remain through the end of the month [of June].