26th Annual AIA SandCastle Competition

26th Annual AIA SandCastle Competition

GALVESTON- On Saturday, June 2nd, 2012 Galveston Island will celebrate the 26th annual AIA SandCastle Competition on East Beach. For over two decades on the first Saturday of June, teams of architects, designers, and engineers have taken their tools to East Beach in Galveston for what is considered one of the world’s largest sandcastle competitions. The Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has been organizing this competition every year since 1986.  Everyone is invited to come see how piles of sand magically transform into imaginative sculptures!

This year over 60 teams have their eyes and shovels set on winning the prestigious Gold Bucket Award. Firms begin months in advance generating ideas, developing designs, and assigning duties. On the day of the event the teams, stretched along the beach front, meticulously sculpt their piles of sand and work non-stop for five hours.
The judging of all sculptures is rated on originality of concept, artistic execution of the concept, technical difficulty, carving technique, and utilization of the site. In addition to the Gold Bucket, best team t-shirt design, best team signage, best costume, and public favorite.

Awards are given in 8 different themed categories:

1.  That’s Entertainment (Best theme with movies, TV, commercials, etc.)
2.  Let the Games Begin (Best theme with a sport or sporting event)
3.  Stars and Stripes (Most Patriotic theme)
4.  Most Complex (Most attention to detail and artistry)
5.  Best Traditional (The most traditional sandcastle)
6.  Best Architectural (Best sculpture relating to architecture)
7.  Most Hilarious (The funniest, most comical)
8.  Most Lifelike / Realistic (Most realistic rendition of a person, plant, animal, mineral, or object)
At the end of the day, everyone goes home with memories of a great day at the beach filled with fun, sand, and sun.

The AIA SandCastle Competition is a fund-raising event for the AIA Houston Office, Grants, and the ArCH Foundation. It is also one of the top five revenue generating events for the City of Galveston.

Public Event Schedule

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012
Galveston East Beach- 1923 Boddeker, Galveston, Texas 7750
8:30 – 10:00 a.m.-  Watch how the pros prepare and set up in order to build
large sand sculptures. Feel free to ask them questions.
10:00 – 3:00 p.m.-  SandCastle Building, live music, and refreshments.
Public Favorite voting: be sure to vote for  your favorite
sand sculptures.
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.-  SandCastle Judging
4:30 – 5:00 p.m.-  Awards Ceremony

There is a “special event” cash only $10.00 parking fee per vehicle collected by the Galveston Parks Board. (There is no ATM close by so please be prepared). There are a few parking spaces that are free and available to the public but they fill up very early in the morning.

**Besides the parking cost, there is no entrance fee to the actual event.  The AIA SandCastle Competition is open to the public for families, friends, and neighbors to enjoy the sand sculptures.**  

Unfortunately there is no Metro bus service, train line, or rapid transit to Galveston.
That being said, please try your best to carpool with friends and family.  Arrive early to avoid traffic which can be difficult around lunch time.  Visit the Team Registration page to take a look at our Environmental Responsibility efforts.

Feel free to bring your own picnic: be sure to mind the City of Galveston’s rules and regulations governing East Beach.  Visit or call 1.409.762.EAST for more information.  Private team and sponsor tents are not open to the public.

Please contact East Beach 1.409.762.EAST or visit questions about beach rules regarding pets.

Please respect the hard work of our participants by not touching any of the sand sculptures even after the event. Many spectators visit the beach the next day, on Sunday, to view and enjoy the sculptures.

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