Back where I come from, the frost is on the pumpkin. The leaf peepers are pulling out their jackets and getting ready for the big show next week. I lived a few blocks away from the Franklin Cider Mill, where the smell of fresh pressed cider and donuts floated through my house starting on Labor Day.
Labor Day was fall in Michigan. Not here. I know the kids have gone back to school and the calendar says its fall, but the surfers are still surfing (without wetsuits), the Speedos are still on display, and the Boardwalk is still crowded in Virginia Beach.
My windows are wide open. I won’t have to close them up until November. Reason #242 why I love living in Hampton Roads.
Most of the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival is over, but you can extend your summer just a little bit more. The premiere event of the Festival (to me, at least), the International Sandsculpting Competition, continues through next weekend, Sunday October 9. Admission to the sand-sculpting event benefits the Governor’s School for the Arts.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, the impending hurricane is forcing the Neptune Festival to shut down early and the tent is now closed.
If rain is in the forecast, don’t let it hold you back. The 22 sand sculptures are protected under a giant tent. It’s still warm outside. You can see some amazing works of art by sculptors from around the world. The Neptune Festival International Sandsculpting Competition is considered one of the premiere events for these pros. These “artists of sand” come from 11 countries, as far away as Latvia and South Korea, and as close as New Jersey.
The artists compete in either the doubles or solo event. The competition is timed. They have 25 hours and a big pile of sand. The sand is “imported” from the Currituck Sand Company. According to Becky Bump, media relations representative of the Neptune Festival, Currituck sand is just a bit higher in clay content that VB sand. That is important, because there is no armature involved in the making of these tall, wide and very intricate sand sculptures. There is nothing but sand.
Becky says, “these artists really understand the sand.”
The artists use hand tools to sculpt large blocks of sand that they mold in wooden crates, the “pound down.” They are allowed to spray water on their creations as they work. When the sculpture is complete, the water in the spray is mixed with just of touch of good old Elmer’s School Glue to “set” the piece and make it last for 10 days.
They are judged in both the doubles and solo category by a distinguished panel of local judges and King Neptune himself, James Spore, former City Manager of Virginia Beach and current CEO of Reinvent Hampton Roads. The sand sculptures are judged on concept, creativity, intricacy, height, cut outs and artistry from all angles. You will be able to walk around each sculpture and look for surprises the artists have added, both big and small. The tent flaps will be open, giving you a view of the waves, and if you’re lucky, a cool breeze off the ocean.
It’s still summer in Virginia Beach. Come on down and enjoy it.
For more information on location and hours, go to here.