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click to enlarge '57 Cadillac by LACO Associates, winner of last year's Golden Shovel Award - COURTESY OF FRIENDS OF THE DUNES
  • courtesy of Friends of the Dunes
  • '57 Cadillac by LACO Associates, winner of last year's Golden Shovel Award

When I was a kid, I liked to dig. I’d dig holes in snow, dirt, sand, whatever. I was a friggin’ mole. Sadly, I never understood the artistic potential of all those pits and piles – that hole could have been a sand gorilla’s mouth, that hillock its nose. Dang!
I realize now it’s because my dad never took me to the Friends of the Dunes' Sand Sculpture Festival. Those people know how to dig and sculpt. Dads, don’t make the same mistake as my pa. Show your kid some culture at the 17th annual event this Sunday, June 17 at the Manila Dunes Recreation Area.
$10 gets your team of six the rights to do all the digging and sculpting they desire. If you’ve got something really crazy in mind, $15 covers a team of seven or more. Bring shovels, trowels, buckets, scoops, or whatever other non-motorized excavators you prefer (I used to favor a soup ladle).
The money covers prizes -- $100 for best in show! – and helps support the Friends of the Dunes’ Bay to Dunes school program, which gets local chiddlers out of those stuffy classrooms and into nature.
Carol Vander Meer of Friends of the Dunes says that the hottest action is usually between noon and 2 p.m., although motivated sand sculptors can register as early as 8 a.m. Vander Meer said that the event usually draws around 1,000 spectators and sculptors, so obviously it’s a good idea to carpool.
There are no guidelines on sculpture subject matter, although Vander Meer said that so far, aside from some sexy sand mermaids, sculptors have kept it pretty kid-friendly. She hopes it stays that way. Ahem.
In past years, sand things eating other sand things have been popular, as have beached aquatic creatures. Aliens and castles are cool too. If you can’t come up with your own sand idea you can peep previous years’ entries on the Friends of the Dunes website.
Your family is terrible at art, you say? Don’t worry about it. Sure, some of the entries from past years have been crazy, mind-blowing, how-did-they-do-that-jaw-dropping. But there have also been plenty of entries that are pretty much just pits and piles. To those talentless diggers: I salute you.

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Zach St. George

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