Texas SandFest was founded by Elleece Calvert and Sharon Schaefe in 1997. They came up with the idea while watching their children build sand castles on the beach. What started as a play-on-the-beach soon transformed into a three-day sand festival.
When seasoned contestant at sand festivals Dee McElroy joined the team, she suggested that the festival be conducted under the umbrella of a non-profit association. That’s how it became a fundraiser for the Port Aransas Community Theatre. It was decided to schedule the festival in a shoulder tourist season to bring tourists when there usually are very few of them in town and support local hotels, restaurants and shops.
In 2006, Texas SandFest separated from the Port Aransas Community Theatre and became a standalone non-profit organization. It aims to give back to the community by raising money for local charities and providing high school graduates scholarships.
Texas SandFest is a three-day sand sculpture festival and contest that offers a weekend of fun on the beach and an exhibition of impressive works of sand art created by sculptors from all over the United States. The festival hosts two major sand sculpture contests, Masters’ Contest and Amateur Contest, held in two separate areas of the beach. There are special contests for children (Guppy Contest) and youth.
Along with the contests, the festival features live music in Music Tent, beer & wine garden, vendors offering unique “island-style” art, crafts and jewelry, food stalls, and more. There are fun activities for visitors of all ages, including lots of family events.
Photo: Carol Bell