SANDiego’s 6th Annual Sand Sculpting Competition is Labor Day Weekend

It’s that time of year again.

The annual sand sculpting extravaganza where world renowned master sand sculptors go head to head is Labor Day weekend.

Make your way Downtown to watch entrants compete with unique and lavish sand sculpture designs.

This year’s event is so extraordinary that America’s Finest City is changing its name for the four-day event to SANDiego, as well as bringing a whopping 300 tons of sand to San Diego’s Broadway Pier. The beautiful Big Bay provides the backdrop to the event in what many consider the most creative atmosphere in the world.

The United States vs. the World

This event was designed with the whole family in mind, and continues to bring San Diego locals and visitors alike together for a weekend of friendly competition. World Master Sand Sculptors from all over come to the city to challenge the best Sand Sculptors in the United States. Countries such as Russia, Latvia, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada, South Korea, and Ireland are represented in the competition, all itching to take home the crown. There are a total of 11 master sculptors who will be carving over the four-day period, all vying for over $60,000 in prize money. The winners will be announced on Sunday, day three.

A Little Something for Everyone

In addition to the sand sculpting competition there will be more than 1,000 3D art pieces available for purchase by talented metal, wood, and glass sculptors. You’ll also find acrylic, ceramic, jewelry, and clothing artists. One thing you will not be taking home is a competitive sand sculpture. They each weigh a whopping ten tons, or more.

Each day brings new, unique and fun activities such as the Arts-for-learning Kid Zone, which is overseen by professional sculptors who watch and teach youngsters how to build their own castles in a giant sand box. There are also fun rides and games for the kiddies such as Bubble Fun that allows them to walk on water (well, sort of), Springy Thingy, and much more.

For adults at the event, you’ll get your own brand of fun with live singers, bands, and dancers throughout all four days. There will be tribute bands who pay homage to greats like the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Journey, Elvis, and Bob Dylan. Copious numbers of food trucks will also be on hand serving delicious eats from all over the world (more than 100 menu items), plus coffee and select beverages. Wine and beer gardens will be set up throughout the space for a little afternoon break, or a pre-dinner drink.

Visitors will make their voices heard in the Peoples’ Choice Award for the World Masters Class competition. Voting is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

And the Winners Are……

After an action-packed Friday and Saturday, the awards ceremony takes place on Sunday at 5 p.m. The all-star panel is met by City of San Diego and Unified Port of San Diego officials to present the awards. The first awards go to the third, second, and first place winners of the World Masters Sand Sculpture competition. Next up are the first, second, and third place winners of the Dimensional Art Exposition; these are the non-sand sculptors and artists. Following these announcements, the second and third place Grand Prize awards are given out for the People’s Choice and Sculptors’ Choice winners. Lastly, the Grand Prize winner in the World Master class is announced, and we find out once and for all who will be taking the trophy and bragging rights home.

Spoiler Alert: As of right now it’s 4 to 1 in favor of the away team, based on the results of the last five years.

Need a Place to Stay?

For those who are visiting San Diego specifically for the four-day Labor Day event, or locals who simply want to stay in the Downtown area while the event is going on, there are numerous hotel options to choose from. The Sofia Hotel, located on Broadway and Front Street in the Gaslamp District is ideal for those who want an upscale urban experience. The historic hotel features stylish rooms, suites, VIP suites, a hotel spa, yoga studio, and health center. The Wyndham San Diego Bayside, the U.S. Grant Hotel, and the The Keating Hotel are also excellent choices for a luxurious stay in the city. DoubleTree San Diego Little Italy is perfect for those on a budget. There are also various additional family-friendly and great-value hotels just outside the downtown area in Mission Valley, Pacific Beach, and Mission Beach.


Where: Broadway Pier and Pavilion, 1000 North Harbor Drive

Date: September 1st-4th

Time: 9AM-5PM/Saturday until 9PM

Price: $6-$35