34th AIA Sandcastle Competition

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August 21, 2021
10:00 AM
East Beach
1923 Boddeker Road
Galveston, TX 77550

Brought to you by the Sandcastle Competition

Congratulations to Nancy Guerrero for designing the 2021 AIA Sandcastle Competition logo!


The AIA Sandcastle Competition is a fundraising event for AIA Houston and ArCH Foundation as well as one of the top five revenue generating events for the City of Galveston. Competing 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 the sculptures is rated on originality of concept, artistic execution, technical difficulty, carving technique, and utilization of the site. In addition to the Gold Bucket, awards are given in several categories including Traditional Castle, Architectural Icon, Kidtastic: Nursery Rhymes, Texas Pride, Pop Culture: Video Games, Go for the Gold, Animal Kingdom as well as Public Favorite, Greatest Feat of Structural Ingenuity, Best Team T-shirt Design, Best Team Signage, and Best Costume. At the end of the day, everyone goes home with memories of a great day at the beach filled with fun, sand, and sun.

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6:30am Beach opens for teams and sponsors
9:00am Public is encouraged to begin to arrive to watch the competition
10:00am - 3:00pm Teams compete and build
1:00pm - 3:30pm Public favorite voting
3:00 - 4:30pm Judging
4:30pm Awards Ceremony

Parking at East Beach Galveston is $15 cash only collected by the Galveston Parks Board. There is no ATM.  There is no Metro bus service, train line, or rapid transit to Galveston or the event. Carpooling is strongly recommended. Allow plenty of time for traffic and parking.

Feel free to bring your own picnic: be sure to mind the City of Galveston's rules and regulations governing East Beach. The snack bar is open for business and food trucks will be on site.  To see park information, click here Private team and sponsor tents are not open to the public.

Reserve your beach umbrella & chairs in advance by contacting Robbie Carnes at East Beach Cantina and Rentals - 409.974.5671 or visit here.

Pets are welcome on leashes.  For more information, click here.

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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If you are interested in particpating in Sandcastle as a team or sponsor please contact Ellen Grodjesk (teams) at ellen@aiahouston.org  (sponsors) at ellen@aiahouston.org.