2017-04-05 / Featured Stories

Welcome to SandFest 2017!

For weeks, I have been trying to write this welcome. I think it is important for you, our guests, to hear from me and the Texas SandFest board of directors. You need to know how much we appreciate your support, whether you are a repeat guest or a brand-new attendee. It is for you that we do this year after year, trying to improve on the previous year’s success to provide you the best experience. We work diligently to make your visit to Texas SandFest worth your time and effort to be here: adding new attractions like the Bungee Trampoline in addition the 4-story slide, Hippo; expanding the Amateur Contest area and adding the sponsorship of Starkey Vacation Headquarters and Bron’s Beach Carts to this part of the festival; moving the Advanced Amateur contest into the Masters’ Arena to enhance your visual stimulation with five more works of art – for a total of 23 world-class artists performing for your viewing pleasure.


Karl Herpel of Fort Worth works on his sculpture of a soldier at the 2016 SandFest. Karl Herpel of Fort Worth works on his sculpture of a soldier at the 2016 SandFest. My struggle in writing this is in not wanting it to be like all the other Welcomes written over the past years. I kept telling the South Jetty editor, “I need some inspiration!” Well, today the inspiration came.

I was at the Family Center IGA, talking to one of the managers about the excitement that surrounds Texas SandFest. He told me that he has to give up his vacation time to work the weekend of SandFest. I’m sure I had a puzzled look on my face because he explained that his birthday is the same weekend as SandFest, and due to the crowds, he is required to work. Of course, me being the fun-loving person I am, I immediately commented that in his honor we are hosting the biggest party Port A will see this year!

And therein lies my inspiration.

Welcome to the largest event to be hosted in Port Aransas, the Texas SandFest, now in its 21st year.


The sand sculptures created each year at SandFest include much detail. The sand sculptures created each year at SandFest include much detail. Of course, we didn’t start out that big; we have steadily grown with a significant increase over the last five years thanks to the support of our community, our sponsors and our guests.

What started with a couple of moms and their kids having fun on the beach has matured into one of the largest professional sand sculpting contests in the U.S., enabling Texas SandFest to give back to the community that supports us so well: $132,000 in 2016; $385,000 over the past five years! Quite an accomplishment for a board of nine volunteer members, two sponsorship agents and one event coordinator. But, we have to add to that the numerous sponsors, the legion of volunteers, the superb talent and you, our guests – together -- we make Texas SandFest the best darn party hosted annually in Port Aransas.

Speaking of sponsors, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few by name. Please consider supporting these businesses as their support allows us to make a huge impact on our community.

Port Aransas-Texas.com is our title sponsor. Their continued support over the past four years is proof that our mission is strong and positive.

Other major sponsors that share our vision include Coastline Custom Golf Cars, Budweiser, Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau, Bernie’s Beach House, the Back Porch, Camper Clinic, Port A Beachlodge, Cinnamon Shore, City of Port Aransas, Island Construction, Silver Sands Vacation Rentals, Becker Vineyards, Republic National Distributing Company, System Seven, Resort World Pass and Zarsky Lumber.

Enough of that! Texas SandFest is a business for sure, but more than anything, SandFest is a celebration of community!

Thanks for coming to the party. We hope you enjoy your visit to the festival. We encourage you to explore the town and all the stores and restaurants it has to offer. We appreciate you enduring the elements, and the traffic, to support us!

No matter how big Texas SandFest gets, this board knows that its success depends upon you, our guests, and we thank you from the bottom of our sandy hearts!

See ya on the sand,

Shawn Etheridge
Board President

“Our Community is Our Mission”

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