REVERE — As waves crashed on Revere Beach under a cloudy sky Saturday, revelers snapped photos and gawked at the intricate works of art built for the National Sand Sculpting Festival.
This year, the festival was dedicated to US armed forces, a tribute that touched Wendy Khadjikian of Burlington, whose father was a Marine.
Khadjikian and her husband, Jim, both 46, described the festival’s main feature, which depicted members of the armed forces, as “the ultimate.”
Sculptors are allowed 30 hours to create their works, said Erin Lynch, the executive director of the Revere Beach Partnership. Last year, a half-million people attended.
“I think it’s definitely a signature event for the city,” said Lynch. Sculptors fly in from all over the world, and each contestant is given 12 tons of sand to make masterpieces.
In total, 15 sculptures were entered in this year’s competition, according to Lynch. Many of the sculptures stood 5 feet high or taller, ranging from traditional castles to a robot, a face, and birds from the movie “Rio 2.”
Rust Croft and Jonathan “Jobi” Bouchard tied for first place. The tie was broken by a “wow-factor” vote, said Lynch, and Croft’s eye-ball style sculpture secured his title as winner. Bouchard won last year’s competition.
The winner of the people’s choice award was Pavel Myinkov, Lynch said.
Last year, Walter McDonald of South Padre Island, Texas, won the people’s choice award for his castle. He returned this year to build another.
“This is really good sand here,” said McDonald, 72. “Fine grain takes the water well.”
Sandy Gazdowicz came to Revere from Burlington, Conn., with her boyfriend, Don Schmelder, and her children, Julia and Mark. “This is our very first time and we’re loving it,” she said.
Her 11-year-old daughter Julia said, “I like the actual [sand] castle,” while 9-year-old Mark liked the sculpture of a car because it was “creative.”
The Ryder family made their way over from Arlington. “It looks like a mushroom,” said Randi Ryder, 44, pointing at a sculpture with her husband Bill, 47, and daughter Kay, 18, by her side. “They’re amazing.”