Sandcastle Competition

Saturday, September 21, 2024

Event is free and open to the public
East Beach parking is $15 (CASH ONLY; NO ATM)

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East Beach
1923 Boddeker
Galveston, TX 77550


Platinum Bucket Sponsor

Gold Bucket Sponsor

Silver Shovel Sponsor - Beer Tents

Silver Shovel Sponsors

Bronze Shovel Sponsors

Friends of Sandcastle


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The Sandcastle event will proceed rain or shine. We are always concerned for the health and safety of our participants and guests, therefore only in the event of a natural disaster would the event be canceled.  If there are any changes, we will update the information here.

How is the money raised used by AIA Houston?
Funds are unrestricted. Proceeds from your AIA Sandcastle Registration go toward covering production costs of the event as well as supporting AIA Houston’s programming. A portion of it provides support for the programming Architecture Center Houston Foundation as well. For a list of our upcoming events click HERE

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

How many Parking Passes can we get?
You will not receive any parking passes. Parking is $15 CASH ONLY per vehicle.

How many Shoreline Passes does each team receive?
Teams will receive ONE Shoreline access pass for the day (does not include parking)

Where can I go to purchase food?

East Beach Cantina

Will food be provided by the event?
Team participants wearing wristbands will have access to our Sponsor Tents, where they may or may not be serving food. We advise teams to come prepared with their own food and water.

Can I BBQ?
Teams must provide one (1) 10lb. fire extinguisher for their tents if teams intend to do any sort of cooking. This includes rental tents and pop-up personal tents.

If propane tanks are used, they must be stabilized (seated in tank storage on grill or placed in milk crate, etc.)

How much beer will my wristband allow me?
We do not initially limit consumption, BUT the beer tent staff have been trained and instructed to not overserve. Wristband sharing is not allowed. Any team caught sharing wristbands will be disqualified from the event. *Please note: Team members with wristbands wishing to access beer MUST provide ID*

Where can I get ice?
Teams may pre-order ice HERE (Deadline is Monday, July 24)
Teams typically order approximately 10-15 bags of ice and have ½ delivered in the morning and the other half delivered in the afternoon. There will be volunteers who will be coordinating the delivery of the ice. Ice may also be purchased at the East Beach Cantina.

When they will be delivered on the day of the competition?
We try to have the ICE out before the competition starts. Once the Ice Truck arrives, volunteers start distributing ice to the First Aid and Beer Tents. And, than they start working on the teams. Depending on how much ice you order, the volunteers will be able to offer a morning and afternoon drop off. For example, if you order 8 bags, they can drop 4 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. Last year was our first go with distributing ice  and we had a representative from each team check-in at the ICE table to make sure the team was ready to receive.

Can I bring a foldable wagon to drag our food, water cooler? Yes


How many people are typically on a team?

Anywhere from 10 to 200! This number is dependent on the amount of time and funding the team would like to invest. We have seen some quite elaborate teams and other teams who compete with the bare minimum. Always remember- no matter where you fall on this scale, you all have the same opportunity to win!

Who can be on my team?
Teams are required to have at least one AIA Member/ Firm or an AIA Affiliate member on their team.
Children under 12-years of age do not need a Participant Event Wristband to participate in the sandcastle building site.

Is there a limit to the number of people on my site? No.
You are allowed to have as many people in the site as you want along as everyone is practicing safe procedures.

Is there a limit to the number of team participants who can be on the active building site at any time?
No, there is not a limit, but we ask that teams exercise caution.

Can I bring my own foldable tables?
Yes, but you must stay within your allotted space and not overflow into the public space or into other neighboring teams.

Is there a limit to the number of chairs on our site?
No, just don’t overflow into other sites or public access.

Are shovels and/or other building supplies provided? No

What materials may we bring to our site?
You may bring whatever you need to build including buckets, shovels, rakes, sprayers etc.
We will be providing a “Sandcastle 101” session soon- stay tuned!

When building your sandcastle, is it ok to use seaweed and/or sticks found on/around the beach area?
Sculptures must be made of sand and water only. No other materials or additives are allowed in the sculpture or on formwork.

Are generators allowed?

No fossil fuel burning generators are allowed.

Are batteries allowed?
The Committee approves the use of solar recharging batteries.
When we say "battery not allowed" we are referring to something like a car battery powering the water pump etc.

How sand does each team receieve?

Each Team will be provided approximately 15 cubic yards of sand inside their site area.
No additional sand will be provided.
Team may only use the sand provided to them at their specific team site.

Are community piles allowed?
No, we have not allowed community piles for several years.

Does everyone need to have wristbands?

Required for all 12 & up working with team site and delivering water. Wristband sharing is prohibited. Any team caught breaking this rule will be disqualified from the event.
Your guests do not need a wristband BUT, they may not enter the actual building site nor assist with delivering water. Please be sure that anyone you have on your site does not impinge on any neighboring sites or overflow into public access walkways.

If I order additional wristbands, do they come with a T-Shirt?
Yes, they do. You have the option of not getting the shirt, but the price will be the same.

Can I design my own T-Shirt?

Yes, we encourage it! There is an award for the best Team T-Shirt Design.
Custom designed T-Shirts will be in addition to the event T-shirt you will receive when you purchase your wristbands. The AIA Sandcastle T-Shirt will be on a white shirt and printed on both sides, so there will not be an opportunity for you to use the reverse side for your artwork. The price will remain the same whether you purchase just the wristband or not.

What are the limitations within a Theme/Category?
Each of our categories are intended to be broad enough to allow teams creative license in coming up with their sand sculpture ideas with the hope that we don't have too many repeating ideas. Maybe a question to ask is "What do you think of when you hear the words Toy Box?" or "What was your favorite childhood toy?"
Secondly, if the theme choice doesn’t meet the required Category will our team get penalized?
Part of the judging criteria is Relation to Category. If your team sand sculpture does not relate to the category, your team will not score well.



Is the shade canopy required to be 12’ from the tent?
If exceeding 400 sf, Yes. Delineated on Tent Layout Options sheet.

Private team and sponsor tents are not open to the public. Sponsor tents require a wristband to access.

Who does the installation and take-down of our tents?
If your tent supplier does not include installation and removal (typically will incur an additional cost), you will be responsible to the set-up and take down of your tent. You may not leave any part of your tent on the beach after the competition.

Can I attach extra banners, signs, or flags to my tent?
Yes, you may, but you must stay within your allotted space and not overflow into the public space or into other neighboring teams. Shade structures are not allowed over the actual build site.

If I rent a tent for your vendor list, will I need to pay the $100 fire permit fee?
No, each tent company will purchase a blanket permit for all tents rented out by them.

Can I bring my own tent?
Yes, you may bring your own tent. All tents that are over 400 Square Feet (20x20feet) require a permit and (1) 10lb ABC Fire Extinguisher. You will only need to pay one permit fee of $100.

Sandcastle teams intending to cook or set up canopies should fill out the following form for approval / coordination with the fire marshal:
Galveston Fire Department Temporary Booth/Vendor Application
This application is to be fulfilled by Teams providing their own tent. A team providing their own tent must still meet the all requirements other requirements, specifically shading devices to be 12’ away from a flame source.

NOTE: A Tent Fire Retardant Certification is required. Make sure your pop-up tent has the following information similar to the examples below:

How many tents am I allowed to have on our site?
Maximum team canopy size is 15’ wide x 30’ deep, installed at midpoint of the canopy zone.
Do not allow canopy supports or ties to encroach upon the shared walkway.
Please keep in mind that any BBQ grills/pits need to 12 feet of space around them in all directions.
Please review the EXAMPLE below of how you can incorporate additional tent coverage utilizing (3) 10’x10’ pop-up tents or one 20’x20’within your area.