Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sandcastle Days at South Padre Island

Today we visited the 24th Annual Sandcastle Days at South Padre Island, Texas. 
What a delightful event!

We were welcomed to the competition area of the beach by this sand-sculptured sign.
The event features competitions at various levels of artistic skill: professionals (called Masters of Sand), and amateurs (Family and Friends Division, Kids & Castles Division, and Teen Division).
Cat o' Nine Tales
This artistic sculpture won the Texas State Sandcastle Championship for 2011. 
Note the play on words "tails" and "tales."
A few of the sand sculptures really looked like castles!  This one, in one of the amateur divisions, was really ornate and detailed, both front and back.  Individual steps were shaped on stairways and fancy archways were hollowed out like real-life doorways.

This castle, in the amateur division of "Family and Friends" was tall, with winding staircases and roofed turrets high above the main structure.  While we admired the workmanship, we also wondered how long it took to design, shape and build such a masterpiece.
In this sandy spectacular one can see a man, sitting in front of a tall column, playing his guitar.  This, too, was entered from one of the amateur divisions.
"Calavera del Toro" by Carl Jara of Ohio
This ghastly work by another Master of Sand -- whose title translates as "Skeleton of the Bull" --  was probably inspired by the approach of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  It is a combination of Hallowe'en and Memorial Day that is celebrated throughout the Hispanic world.
"Sea Saw" by Kirk Rademaker of California.
"Padre Palace" by Amazin' Walter McDonald of South Padre Island.
This masterpiece, too, was created by a Master of Sand. 
It was voted the People's Choice Winner of the competition.
Overview of "Masters of Sand" division of Sandcastle Days
Organizers of the four day event anticipated as many as 30,000 visitors.
The week-end attraction also includes free sand castle building lessons,
live music by a local band, and
a "Castles by Candlelight" shrimp boil.
Mother Nature blessed the celebration with nearly perfect weather,
so the respiratory irritation of a little red tide didn't keep the spectators away.
Colorful kites fllying above Sandcastle Days.
Although the focus of the event was on sand sculptures,
kite enthusiasts decorated the sky above the competition area 
with their brightly colored and variously shaped air-borne creatures.
The sand, the sky, and the sea all seemed to celebrate together with us
the creativity and skill of those who sculpt in sand.