Sand Sculpting Competition and More Hampton Beach Events

Art on the Beach

Photo by Lisa Martineau

Trucks filled with 200 tons of sand will head to Hampton Beach in mid-June. It’ll be dumped in great piles on the beach near the  bandstand, ready for  those who will compete in this year’s  sand sculpting contest.

These are not doing-it-for-fun sculptors turning packed buckets of sand upside down; they’re professionals who travel the world to vie  for prize money by turning sand into works of art. There’s $15,000 at stake in the Hampton Beach invitation-only contest.

“What  they do amazes me every year. You never see the same thing,” says Greg Grady, the founder and organizer of the event. He started the event 13 years ago after a sand sculpture he did convinced town officials a sand sculpting contest would be a draw.

And a draw it is. Grady estimates a half-million people see the sculptures from the time the  three-day competition starts (June 20 this year) until they’re taken down (July 7). During that time they’re illuminated at night.

Last year the “Stairway to Heaven” sculpture  (shown here), done by Grady’s son Greg J. Grady, was selected  as the “Sculptors Choice.”  

Stuff to do this summer at Hampton Beach

  • Old Tyme Carnival: June 6-9, 10 a.m.- 8 p.m.
  • Fireworks displays: the first of 17 displays (every Wednesday) takes place June 19 at 9:30 p.m.
  • Catamaran Regatta: June 15-16, 9 a.m.– 5 p.m.
  • 13th Annual Sand Sculpting Competition: June 20-22; awards June 22 at 8 p.m. Viewing until July 7.
  • United States Volleyball Tournament: June 22, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and July 20, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Little Miss Hampton Beach: July 27, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
  • Miss Hampton Beach: July 28, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
  • Children’s Week: August 12, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Hampton Beach Talent Competition: August 23-25 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
  • Seafood Festival: September 6-8 10 a.m.-7 p.m.