By John Hirtle
Special to the Beach News
Beach News, Thursday, June 28, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News/Beach News]
[Photo by John Hirtle]
HAMPTON BEACH -- It takes a lot of sand and a lot of plans to put one of Hampton Beach's newest and most noteworthy events together. And for the seventh time, everything came together perfectly for the annual Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Competition.
Things kicked off with the. special delivery of tons of silt sand to Hampton Beach over two weeks ago. While it may seem odd to have sand delivered to the beach, silt sand has finer particles and a bit of clay mixed in. Add a lot of water (with some diluted glue added in) and you have the right mix to start a sand sculpting competition.
Another key component are the sculptors themselves. This is an invitation-only event, so only world-class sculptors are allowed to take part. Year after year they eagerly return, because there a few places that offer such high quality sand to work with. It takes time for them to arrive from such far-flung places as Ohio, Canada, Florida and elsewhere, but as they arrived they took part in creating a grand central group sculpture. This year's theme was a parade to celebrate the centennial of the Hampton Beach Village District, which was created in 1907 to bring such modern amenities such as a fire department, water and more attractions to Hampton Beach.
The grand parade was lead by a sandy fire truck, followed by an organ grinder and his monkey, a dragon float, a band, and a Mardi Gras-style float, followed up by a clown on a big wheel. A calliope in the center and logos of the many sponsors appeared throughout this impressive sculpture. The actual timed competition began on Thursday, June 22, where 13 of the sculptors worked to single handedly create their own masterpieces out of ten tons of sand. All the while, huge crowds gathered and admired the work as it took shape. The many dedicated volunteers who are fiercely proud and protective of this singularly sandy event were on hand, distributing fliers and answering the many questions posed by the onlookers.
The one question the volunteers could never answer, though, was what each sculpture was going to be. For that, everyone had to wait for the end of the competition on Saturday, when the sculpting stopped and the judging began. The judges even seemed to agree that the task was a difficult one, given the variety and creativity that each artist displayed in their work. And although every artist was guaranteed $500 for participating in the competition, everyone hoped to take home the prize.
A huge crowd gathered around the Seashell Stage on Saturday evening, where the sand sculptors and the many people who helped make the event a reality were honored.
Marc Lepire of Charlesbourg, Quebec, Canada took fifth place and a prize of $1,000 for his work titled "History Repeating."
Fred Mallet of Port Aransas, Texas came in fourth place and won a $1,500 prize for his work, "Every Duck's Dream."
Meredith Corson of Treasure Island, Florida took third place and a prize of $2,000 for her sculpture, "Fanta 'Sea.' She also won the People's Choice Award, and the $500 prize that came with it.
Dan Doubleday of Pleasure Island, Florida took second place and a prize of $2,500 for his work "Facing Yourself," which also received the Sculptor's Award.
First place, and a grand prize of $3,000 went to Carl D. Jara of Lyndhurst, Ohio for his work, "Summer Stones."
With that, and a round of Hampton Beach's renowned fireworks after the awards, the seventh sand sculpting competition drew to a close. The sculptures themselves were to remain standing for public viewing day and night until Friday, June 29 when they are scheduled to be taken down and hauled off to the Hampton Public Works, which will recycle the sand.