2023 36th AIA Houston Sandcastle Competition

Saturday, August 12, 2023

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


Gold Bucket Sponsor

Silver Shovel Sponsor

Bronze Shovel - Public Access Sponsor

Bronze Shovel Sponsor

Educational Boards Sponsor

Print Sponsors

Survey Sponsor

Friends of Sandcastle

Site Selection Event Sponsors

T-Shirt/Material Distribution Party Sponsor

Event Info


The AIA SandCastle Competition is a fund-raising event for AIA Houston and ArCH Foundation as well as one of the top five revenue-generating events for the City of Galveston.

2023 Sandcastle Competition is presented by:Texas 811


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 Golden Bucket, awards are given in several categories including:

Traditional Castle

Best Architectural Icon


Texas Pride

Optical Illusion

Public Favorite,

Best Team t-shirt design

Best Team signage, and 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.

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 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.
Visit www.galveston.com/beachparks or call 1.409.762.EAST for more information.  Private team and sponsor tents are not open to the public.

Please contact East Beach 1 (409) 762-EAST or visit www.galveston.com/beachparks with questions about beach rules regarding pets.

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.


If you are interested in participating in Sandcastle as a TEAM please contact Ellen  ellen@aiahouston.org

For SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES please contact Aleks aleks@aiahouston.org