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Fleeting Masterpieces: Check Out the Waterfront Art-making of the 2018 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge

Fleeting Masterpieces: Check Out the Waterfront Art-making of the 2018 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge

Sand Sculpture

That humble yet universally popular rock grain we call beach sand can be molded into forms a heck of a lot more complex than a simple bucket-built castle. (Not that there’s anything wrong with sand castles—don’t misunderstand us.) And coming up Labor Day weekend, you’ll be able to see the full artistic potential of this powdery medium—in no short supply here in Southern California, it goes without saying—just a few blocks from Downtown San Diego’s favorite hotel, the Sofia!

From Friday, August 31st through Monday, September 3rd, Broadway Pier—a straight shot west from the historic Sofia—will once again host the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge & Dimensional Art Exposition, and we can’t think of too many better ways to mark the summer sendoff of Labor Day than taking it all in while enjoying our one-of-a-kind boutique accommodations.

The 2018 U.S. Sculpting Challenge & Dimensional Art Exposition

As the Sand Sculpting Challenge playfully puts it, its Labor Day competition turns San Diego into “SANDiego” thanks to the talents of a cadre of World Master Sand Sculptors come to America’s Finest City to square off—and meanwhile delight festivalgoers with their beachfront masterworks.

To qualify for that opportunity, artists must have nabbed an award at a major international sand-sculpting competition within the past five years. They have some 300 tons of sand hauled in to Broadway Pier at their disposal and four days to show off their creativity and technical prowess.

It’s downright incredible to see what these Michelangelos and Rodins of the beach can do with what most of us think of merely as a friendly barefoot substrate for surfside strolls or dedicated sun-worshipping. Have a look at the 2017 winners for an idea of what to expect.

Last year’s U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge Grand Prize and People’s Choice champ was Russia’s Illya Filimontsev. Dutch-American artist Thomas Koet of Melbourne, Florida, meanwhile, earned the Sculptors’ Choice award, while I.B. Posse out of Imperial Beach took the Grand Prize and Sculptors’ Choice in the team competition.

The Dimensional Art Exhibition

Besides the sand sculptures themselves, the Sand Sculpting Challenge also features a large exhibition of non-sand dimensional art: glasswork, ceramics, jewelry, clothing, and more, entered in their own category of competition and—unlike the monumental but (alas) transient sand creations—available for sale.

Live Entertainment & More

While goggling at the grand and intricate figures, structures, and symbols being rendered out of everyday sand before your very eyes over at Broadway Pier, you’ll also get to enjoy live music courtesy of a full roster of performers, including tribute acts to the King himself (Suspicious Minds at 7 PM on Saturday, September 1st) and Journey (Journeymen at 7 PM on Sunday the 2nd). You’ll also be eating well at the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge: A dozen gourmet food trucks are part of the whole shebang.

Enjoy the 2018 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge in “SANDiego” at the Sofia Hotel

Of course, you’ll also be able to cap off your visit to the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge on the San Diego waterfront with a delicious dinner at Currant American Brasserie right here at the Sofia Hotel, which makes for unbeatably convenient—and all-around superb—accommodations during Labor Day weekend. Make your reservations at our historic Downtown San Diego hotel today for the sand spectacular going down at Broadway Pier!