PARKSVILLE — Some of the highest quality sand sculptures in the world are now standing in Parksville, following the awards presentation at the annual Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition.
Peter Vogelaar of Winlaw, B.C. won top honours in the singles category for his piece titled Wild Things. The top judged duo sculpture went to Jacinthe Trudel and Jonathan Bouchard of St-Calixte, Quebec for Choose Your Side.
Vogelaar won his impressive sixth solo division title in Parksville. His creation featured late American rock legend Jimi Hendrix with exotic creatures etched into his hair.
“I really like those marine iguanas, then I thought a lot of people are going to do that and I thought I needed to do something different,” Vogelaar told NanaimoNewsNOW Sunday evening.
This year’s theme for the 36th annual competition is ‘Wild Things – From here to the Galapagos.’
Vogelaar said the 30-hour time limit was rapidly approaching and he was forced to rush Hendrix’s hair.
“By the end it was like ‘Quick another fish, another fish, I have to get this done in a hurry,’ because the timeline is always sneaking up on you.”
Vogelaar, 65, has been sculpting sand since 2003 and has a pair of world championship titles in team categories on his resume. He said the caliber of the Parksville competition has risen sharply over the past several years.
“In the old days, I’ll be honest, the competition isn’t as stiff as it is now. Half of the field is ex-world champions.”
Vogelaar is a professional sculptor who competes in a few sand competitions a year and shifts to snow and ice sculpting during the winter. Vogelaar appears to be getting better with age — he was the oldest competitor at the Parksville event.
Fifteen solo-created sand sculptures and 14 in the duo division stand at Parksville beach in the Community Park and will remain up until August 19.
The pieces can be viewed daily between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. for a suggested donation of $3. The people’s choice category winner will be announced at the end of the festival, based on votes from visitors.
Several artists at the Parksville competition are headed to Boston for next weekend’s International Sand Sculpting Festival.
Parksville Beach Festival president Cheryl Dill said she is pleased with how creative the sculptures are.
“It has just unleashed so many wonderful ideas that no one will believe they were going to see. I encourage people to come in and be surprised,” Dill said.
Last year, more than 130,000 people walked through the gates to view the sand castles in Parksville. Dill called the annual competition and Parksville Beach Festival Vancouver Island’s hallmark event, which has put Parksville on the map globally.
“The sculptors that come here are professionals and they love Parksville, they love coming here for the weather and the sand, but mostly the way we treat them.”