There’s something about that Port Aransas sand.
“It’s so good â it’s even a little better than South Padre Island,” saidÂ Lucinda Wierenga, a nearly 30-year veteran in sand sculpting competitions. “It’s very fine with angular grains, and there’s a high natural clay or silt content to it, which is really important for sand sculptureÂ because it keeps the moisture in. That’s what makes it stand so long.”
On Tuesday morning, Wierenga was waiting at the sand pile at the site of the 20th annual Texas Sandfest in Port Aransas. She and other artists, who arrived April 13, waited for a water truck to come around so they could start carving a demo sculpture of the festival and sponsors’ logosÂ before the competition begins Thursday.
The demo is a sand-rendering of the Alamo.
“This is a really impressive pile of sand,” she said.
Wierenga has competed in the solo and duo divisions of the Texas SandFest since its inception in 1997. This year’s event will be her third time to work with her nephew, Emerson Schreiner, in the Master Duo Team division.
The artist, based in South Padre Island, has made a career out of teaching people how to make sand castles. You read that right; her job is sand castle-making lessons, workshops and team-building exercises. And she wrote the 126-page book Sand Castles Made SimpleÂ in 2005.
In 2015, she and Schreiner placed second, and last year, they placed third. The proud aunt is hoping for the top spot in the duo division this weekend.
“(Schreiner’s)Â been working with me for eight years. He comes down every summer and helps with lessons and maintaining the sand sculpture trail,” Wierenga said. “He’s become an amazing sand sculptor in his own right. He graduated from the University of Michigan with art degree, but his emphasis was in painting. I introduced him to the sand sculpture world.”
There are eight Master Solo Sculptors competing in this year’s competition, and 10 Master Duo Sculptors. Most of them are longtime competitors, but Wierenga is hoping for new blood eventually.
“We need more young people stepping up,” she said. “Most of us are getting older. It’s nice to see younger people get involved.”
Texas SandFest is hosted by a nonprofit organization and runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. There are adult and teen amateur contests and “guppy” and youth divisionsÂ in addition to the master sculptors competitions.
Travel company Expedia featured the event…