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The 13th annual Master Sand Sculpting Competition at Hampton Beach is June 20-22. It is again a qualifier for the World Championships of Sand Sculpting and is the only qualifying event on the East Coast. (Union Leader file)

When art comes to the beach

HAMPTON BEACH — Master sand sculptors from around the world will return to Hampton Beach June 20-22 for the 13th annual Master Sand Sculpting Competition.

In addition to returning champions, including last year’s winner, Carl Jara of Lyndhurst, Ohio, and local sculptors Greg and Gregory Grady, some new faces will join the crowd, including the current United States National Snow Sculpting champion, David Andrews of Wisconsin.

This year’s event is again a qualifier for the World Championships of Sand Sculpting and is the only qualifying event on the East Coast.

Sculptors are each given ten tons of sand, water and a few plastic or wooden forms to start building their masterpieces. They have a total of 21 hours over three days to complete the sculptures with voting and awards given on Saturday, June 22, at 8 p.m. on the Sea Shell stage. The sculptures will be on display through July 7 and will be lit for night viewing.

Past creations have included detailed mermaids and other mythical creatures, hockey goalies, pirates, giant cats and knitting grandmothers.

All of the sculptors will create a massive 150-ton sponsor site on June 19 and a Masters Group Carve will take place later that day.

In addition to competing to qualify for the World Championships in Atlantic City this year, the sculptors are also vying for $15,000 in prize money.

Although most beach-goers prefer sun when they hit the beach, master sand sculptor Greg Grady said rainy days are perfect days for viewing sand sculptures.

“Rain actually strengthens the sculptures, so if it rains, come on down and see some magic on the beach,” he said.

For more information about the event, visit


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