REVERE — From its long trunk to its bumpy skin, the “Save the Elephant” sand sculpture looked like the real deal.
The creation, which depicts a mother elephant protecting her babies, won the People’s Choice award at the 14th annual International Sand Sculpting Festival on Saturday on Revere Beach.
Visitors to the festival, which is expected to draw about 1 million people by its closing Sunday at 8 p.m., chose the creation as their favorite of the 15 sculptures on display.
Artist Paul Hoggard of Bulgaria said he hopes his sculpture encourages people to think about the environment.
“I thought if I could bring to this event elephants that they are going to be so lifelike, then it will force people to engage into conversation,” he said.
The theme of this year’s festival is The Tall Ships. A 20-foot-wide sculpture of the USS Constitution is the centerpiece of the festival.
“To bring this many people back to Revere Beach is tremendous; everyone is having a great time,” said Adrienne Maguire, member of the Revere Beach Foundation, which runs the three-day festival.
The event opened Friday, when 15 sand sculptors from around the world came to America’s oldest public beach to compete for up to $40,000 in prize money. Seven winners were announced Saturday night.
Pavel Mylnikov of Moscow won first prize for “Soul Evolution,” a dramatic sculpture of a mythic figure. It was awarded the top prize by a panel of sculptors who did not participate in this year’s festival.
The sculptors participating in the festival also got to cast a vote. They awarded the Sculptor’s Choice honor to Andrius Petkus of Lithuania for his sculpture, “In Justice We Trust.”
For some, the artful creations stirred memories of warm summer days spent on Revere Beach.
Monalisa Campbell of Dorchester recalled the bygone days when arcades and a roller coaster stood across from the beach. The sand sculpture festival has brought family fun back to the beach, she said.
“It’s enjoyable,” said Campbell, 52, who attends the festival every summer with friends. “It’s free. The kids like it.”Jaclyn Reiss and Craig Walker of the Globe staff contributed. Allana Barefield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @allana_B18.