Friends of the Dunes

Sand Sculpture Festival

I Dig Sand

If you'd like your business to sponsor a sculpture in the next festival, check out the different levels and benefits of our Business Partners.

From Arcata

Take Hwy 255 (Samoa Blvd) West 5 miles to Manila. Turn right on Pacific and then immediately left on Peninsula. Drive a quarter mile and turn right into the parking lot. A registration table will be set up, and from there it is a five to ten minute walk over the dunes to the beach.

From Eureka

From Hwy 101, take Hwy 255 West. You will go over bridges crossing Humboldt Bay. On the other side, 255 turns North, drive 2 miles to Manila. Turn left on Peninsula. Go a half mile and turn left into the parking lot. A registration table will be set up, and from there it is a five to ten minute walk over the dunes to the beach.

The 2017 Sand Sculpture Festival Winners

Best of show

Now in it's third decade, the Sand Sculpture Festival is a fun family event for all ages. Come out and do something creative in the sand, or just enjoy the beach and the spectacle. The event is free for spectators, a $1-$5 sliding scale donation is encouraged to support Friends of the Dunes education and conservation programs. The best time to view sculptures is from noon to 2 p.m. Snacks and drinks for sale at the beach benefit Redwood Coast Montessori school. Parking is limited and carpooling is encouraged. Starting at 11am, parking shuttles are available from the Manila Park to the event. Scroll down to see the parking shuttle map.

Get Your Team Together!

Sand Mermaid

Grab your shovels and your friends and get a team together to compete for cash prizes in a variety of categories. Registration opens at 8 a.m. at the Manila Community Center, 1611 Peninsula Drive. The entry fee is $15 for teams of up to six people and $20 for teams of more than six. Pre-register here (BELOW) and receive a $5 discount off your registration fee. Please print and fill out the registration form to have ready at the event. Participation by all ages and skill levels is encouraged.

The Sand Sculpture Festival offers cash awards in the following categories: Best of Show, Most Imaginative, Best Youth Sculpture for sculptors 12 and under, Most Dedicated Diggers, People's Choice and Friends of the Dunes Staff Pick. The coveted Golden Shovel Award is given to the best business sponsored team.

Final judging of the sand sculptures begins at 1 p.m. and winners will be announced around 2 p.m. Proceeds benefit Friends of the Dunes education and conservation programs.

Parking Shuttle Schedule

Shuttle service provided by City Ambulance of Eureka

Tips for Making Your Sand Sculpture

  1. The key to making a sculpture stand is compaction. All too often, folks build sculptures that start to dry out and blow away before the judges get there.
  2. Larkin's Newt Dig a hole close to the high tide mark; dig until you hit water. Prepare your medium by mixing the sand and water, really dig deep, pulling the compact sand up and thoroughly mixing it with water. Big, wet, soupy handfuls of sand are what you need.
  3. To build towers, simply scoop up a handful of wet sand and plop it down gently, making a patty on the pile of sand you dug out of your hole. With gentle pressure, jiggle (do not pound) the sand to disperse the water so that it binds to the patty below. Continue adding patties of wet sand, jiggling - not pounding - until you get the height you desire.
  4. Use some tools. You can carve your sand using a variety of tools. A pastry knife works for carving windows, doors, faces, etc. A soft bristled brush can erase knife strokes, and plastic tubing or a drinking straw can be used to gently blow away loose sand.
  5. Most importantly, have fun and don't be afraid to try something new. You'll have hundreds of appreciative spectators not only admiring your work, but also your enthusiasm for enjoying and appreciating our beautiful coast.

Friends of the Dunes | PO Box 186, Arcata CA 95518 | 707-444-1397 |

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