Sand, water and a little imagination

LIHUE — It takes water, sand, a visualized concept, hard work, and more water.

For the fifth year in a row, the Sand Castle Festival and Art Contest will take place at Hanalei Bay, giving architects, artists and those who just like to construct a chance to build castles and sculptures worthy of prizes.

“The main thing is your turning this crumbling sand into something that can be carved by a sculptor,” said Julian Miller, event organizer, on the one ingredient contestants are really allowed to use — sand.

But how do you turn something grainy into something cement-like?

Water, of course. Water the sand, tamp it down, mix, water, repeat.

“Lots of water,” Miller said. “It’s really simple, but that allows you to create a large chunk of sand you can create a sculpture from.”

Between 200 to 300 people are expected to enter the free event, while more than 1,000 should be around the Hanalei Pier to marvel at the creations.

Think castle building is just for keiki, think again. There are international contests with big prize payouts up to $100,000. And while there will be a keiki division Saturday, adults and teams are also a part. Businesses are offering up prizes for the pieces they like the most.

Harvest Market has $100 worth of certificates for the best organic looking food piece and Rotary club members are putting up $100 for the best piece on ocean safety.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A tutorial instructed by event organizer and sand castle building professional Jeff Peterson will share the secrets behind creating a masterful structure. The kids contest will run first, and the adult and team division should get underway by early afternoon.

The rules are simple: Build something out of sand. Any tool really goes, but no decoration, rocks or coloring are allowed — basically, the only thing that goes is sand, water and imagination.

Carpooling is encouraged as parking gets backed up. No parking is allowed on Weke Road.

Info: 639-8379 or


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