The nativity scene is near completion. The Elon Musk-like “fantasy rocketship,” with detailed Russian scrawling is done.
There are many more exquisitely detailed sculptures sprawled under the large tent at Sandcastle Village and Trail, located on West Ling Street in the entertainment district on South Padre Island. Better yet, as curator Lucinda Wierenga said, “it's under the ferris wheel across from Louie's Backyard.”
There is no cost to check out the amazing craftsmanship of sculptors from around the world. There are donation boxes, though, and money collected helps pay those sculptors, like the Russian sculptor who showed up a couple weeks ago and designed the rocket ship.
“I have a lot of good friends who are talented sand sculptors that I've met along the years doing this,” Wierenga said. “They like to come hang out, play in the sand and it works really well.”
Wierenga is a third-generation Winter Texan from Michigan who started visiting the Valley when her grandparents were living in Pine to Palm Resort Park in Weslaco.
There are about a dozen large sculptures under the tent, provided by Louie's Backyard. The village opened two years ago and when visitors are done making it through the tent, they can scan a QR code, and it will show a trail with about 25 sculptures scattered around town.
“They're all over so people can take their car or a golf cart or bike and follow the path,” Wierenga said. “We're always looking for more places to put some.”
The great thing about sand is that if any of the life-like works of art gets messed up, it can be torn down and then work can start over.
“A bad storm came, and the rain came in sideways and took out two of the sculptures,” Wierenga said. The beauty of an art museum made out of sand, the sand isn't going anywhere and there's plenty of it. Without that tent, however, it would be hard to keep the sculptures.
If one is looking for creative and unique vacation photo opportunities, just stroll through the village. People can even have their picture taken on (yes, on) a throne of sand.
“We started adding little ones and we try not to take things out. We are constantly growing, changing, and very unique,” Wierenga said.
The South Padre Island Sandcastle and Trail is open seven days a week, “usually by 10 a.m. until the ferris wheel closes at 10 or 11 p.m.,” Wierenga
For more information, visit https://www.sopadre.com/experiences/sandcastle-trail/ or the Sandcastle Village Facebook page.