Sensational Sand Sculpture Art

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The seventh annual Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Competition ran from Thursday through Saturday, attracting thousands of viewers lining up along the sidewalk on Ocean Boulevard to take a glance of what was described as a €__parade in the sand,€__ turning piles of the silty substance into works of art.

Beachgoers will be able to enjoy the masterpieces for about a week. This was the event€__s seventh year and by invitation only.

€__Since it€__s the 100th anniversary of the Hampton Beach Village District, we decided to kick off the celebration with a big parade sculpted in the sand.†Â‚? said organizer and master sand sculptor Greg Grady.

The district is the main sponsor behind the event that featured 12 world-class sand sculptors competing for a share of the contest€__s $15,000 in prize money.

Returning to the beach this year was €__Sergeant€__ Art Knapp, of Massapequa, New York, and Marianne von den Broek, of Key West, Florida. Last year€__s winner Karen Fralich, of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, flew in from Italy to take part in this year€__s event, reports Seacoast Online.

For some of the sand sculptors, the event is more than just a competition €__ it€__s a way of life.

Dan Doubleday, from Treasure Island, Fla., has been sculpting sand for nine years, and owns a sand-sculpting business called Sanding Ovations, based in Florida.

€__Hampton is the toughest competition on the circuit.? says Corson. €__With the best sand available to work with and 5 of the strongest carvers in the world in one place, it will be a fight to the finish.†Â‚?

Marc Lepire of Charlesbourg, Quebec, was completing €__History Repeating,€__ depicting a knight and a futuristic fighter on opposite sides of a wall. Meredith Corson of Treasure Island, Fla., created a display of sea life in delicate details. Lucinda €__Sandy Feet€__ Wieranga designed a great lady with villages growing out of her cape in intricate patterns.

Some competitors have appeared on the Travel Channel show €__Sand Blasters,€__ including Meredith Corson and Dan Doubled€__y, who won the TV show€__s competition with their zipper head man titled €__Closed Minded€__ this year.

€__It is fun to say I compete against those people.€_ Steve Topazio of Tiverton, R.I., said. Topazio has been sand sculpting professionally for about five years. He said it€__s not upsetting when the sculptures come down. €__It is a performing art.€_ he said.

Those inspired by the sculptures could study techniques to create their own in a nearby area using the same sand as the professionals and similar tools.

The sculptures will be bulldozed down on June 29th.

€__It is the saddest day in the world.€_ a Hampton Beach Chamber of Commerce employee said earlier this week.

Judges will choose 1st through 5th-place winners based on artistic merit, technical difficulty and overall design. A People€__s Choice Award will also be given out.

The public was also asked to judge the works by dropping a ticket into a bucket in front of their favorite creation.

The first-prize winner will receive $2,500. Each participant will receive $500.

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