31st annual AIA 2017 Sandcastle Competition in Galveston

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SkyDrone13 flies over the AIA Sandcastle contest in Galveston.

Dozens of teams of architects, designers and engineers are carting their shovels and buckets to Galveston's East Beach this Saturday for the 31st annual AIA Sandcastle Competition.


Their creative sand creations are the result of months of work and planning. But before anyone is awarded the prized Golden Bucket, you can count on a day of family fun in the sun. The public is encouraged to begin arriving around 9 a.m. to watch the competition. Be sure to wear your swimsuit and bring plenty of sunscreen. Parking at East Beach Galveston is $15, cash only. Additional parking and shuttle buses will be available from Stewart Beach. Allow extra time for traffic and parking.

Feel free to bring your own picnic. Unlike most of Galveston's beaches, alcohol is permitted at East Beach. The beach also features restrooms, showers, chairs and umbrella rentals.

There are rain showers in the forecast. ABC13 Chief Meteorologist Tim Heller says thundershowers will start to develop early in the day, peaking in the mid-afternoon. If dark clouds start moving your way, check the radar on the free AccuWeather App.

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 highest honor of the Golden Bucket, awards are given in several categories, including Best Traditional, Best Architectural, Most Lifelike/Realistic, as well as best team t-shirt design, best team signage, best costume and public favorite.

The Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has been hosting this competition since 1986. The AIA SandCastle Competition is a fund-raising event for AIA Houston and ArCH Foundation.


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