Sept. 1 – Sept. 4, 2017
Broadway Pier and Pavilion
1000 North Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101

2017 Winners
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The U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and Dimensional Art Exposition is open to the public for 4 full days: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 1-4 September 2017.  Gates open at 9am daily — close at 5pm on Fri. and Mon. and stay open until 7pm on Sat. and Sun.

The schedule


Friday-9/01 | Saturday-9/02 | Sunday-9/03 | Monday-9/04 (Labor Day!)

Friday, 1 September


9am: U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge.  Pier gates open to the public. Master sculptors from places like Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Russia and Canada – are challenging the best from the U.S. to earn their share of more than $60,000 in prize and appearance money.  They’re about half-done with their sculptures on Friday morning; 2/3rds done by late afternoon, because they started carving on the previous Wednesday.  (Sorry that you weren’t invited then, but we have to keep some things to ourselves.)  The World Masters compete in solo, head-to-head competition and they have until 7pm on Saturday to finish. Friday and Saturday are great days to see them work and watch their incredible sculptures come to life.

In addition to the World Masters, there’s a 3-person Team Competition. Team members come from all over the State and elsewhere in the U.S. (Is there life beyond the California Coast?) They build more amazing sculptures.  You might catch a glimpse of them “pounding up” on Friday, but they do most of their creating on Saturday and Sunday. 

Dimensional Art Exposition. While guests can’t buy the fantastic sand sculptures at the event (they’re too large to fit in your vehicle, and they’d seriously mess up your carpet), patrons can purchase and bring home works by other artists who display their metal and glass sculptures, acrylics, ceramics and wood carvings, wall décor, clothing, jewelry and more, today through Monday.  (There are way over 1,000 pieces that you can buy, but not every one of these artists are on the pier every day…mostly, but give some of ‘em a break now and then.)

Arts-for-Learning Kid Zone.  Kids play and learn in our giant sandbox.  Professional sculptors oversee the play and can jump in and teach children how to build sandcastles.  Activities outside the box are provided by Arts for Learning, a San Diego tradition for over 50 years.  And there are rides for your offspring as well.  Like Bubble Fun that lets your kids actually walk on water. (Well, almost. But we’d bet that their grandma thinks they do.)  And a springy thingy that’ll send them up and down and up and down and up.  And more.

11am: Starting at 11am on Friday, bands, singers, dancers and more perform throughout the 4-day event. In 2017, we’re featuring some of the best bands that pay tribute to great musicians like the Beatles, Beach Boys, Dylan, Journey and more — even Elvis – live!   

Gourmet food trucks are on premise and offer coffee and other beverages, lunch and even dinner. Food from around the country and around the world.  Delicious. 

If you want to wash down that delicious food with a beer or glass of wine, we have it.  Did we say that already?

The wine and beer garden helps support our kids charities.  

5pm:  The pier closes for the night.


Saturday, 2 September


9am: Gates open for the day.  World Masters solo sculptors start their 4th and final day of competition. They’re almost done.  3-person Teams start this morning at 9:00 and run through Sunday at 2:00.  See how team members work together.  They mostly talk to each other, except when someone cuts the wrong ear off Van Gogh.  Or was that Picasso’s Weeping Woman?  Was that an ear or a nose?  Glue that thing back on there, brother!  (Whoops, no glue allowed.)

Dimensional artists exhibit and sell all day.  Find wonderful one-of-a-kind necklaces, bracelets, earrings, clothing and accessories, tabletop, wall décor and more.  Wood, metal, glass, acrylics.  Phantastic photography and painting too.  Once each year and only on the pier!

Kid Zone is open all day.  Gourmet food trucks serve great snacks, meals and drinks.  Event host periodically grabs the mic to thank our sponsors and maybe give away free dinners at downtown restaurants, gift certificates to Seaport Village and Headquarters shops and maybe other stuff. Y’never know. No purchase required. You could win a prize just by walking by.   

11am:  Wine and beer garden opens.  Live entertainment begins.  There’re new bands, new sets every other hour.   

4pm:  Voting starts for the Peoples’ Choice Awards for the World Masters Class competition.  If you want your voice to count, be here and vote from 4:00 until 7:00 today, and 9:00am until 2:00pm tomorrow. 

7pm:   Deadline for sculptures in the World Masters Class to have all the details 100% complete.  And the bell rings on the first day of the Team Competition. … to be continued bright and early tomorrow morning.

Sculptors and everyone else (that means you) off the pier!  Event is closed for the night.

Dinner Downtown. If you haven’t yet had dinner at one of our phenomenal phood trucks, try one of San Diego’s best restaurants right here on the Embarcadero, at Seaport Village, the Headquarters, Little Italy, the Gaslamp or East Village. It’s a gorgeous evening. Walk it. Then hit the clubs. Downtown’s full of ‘em. Stay over at the Wyndham San Diego Bayside across the street and up a block, on the way to Little Italy.  Or stay at the Sofia on Broadway and Front, on your way to the Gaslamp.  They are our Official Hotels. Our gates will open again at 9:00 tomorrow morning.


Sunday, 3 September


9am:  Gates open.  World Master sculptors are done and their works will be judged later this morning by our panel of experts.  Some of the Masters will be on the pier at various times during the day, hanging around their art and trying to explain themselves.  Like the guy who drinks beer every night on TV, they are among the most interesting people in the world.  And they’ll be happy to chat with you.  

The Team competition started yesterday.  See them in action from opening bell through 2pm today, their final deadline.

Dimensional artists exhibit and sell all day.  Kid Zone is open all day.  Gourmet food trucks serve great snacks, meals and drinks. 

Voting is open for the Peoples’ Choice Awards for the World Masters Class competition.  If you want your voice to count, be here and vote from 9:00am until 2:00pm. 

11am:  Live entertainment begins for the day. There’re new bands, new sets every other hour. Beer and wine is available starting now.

2pm:  This is the deadline for voting for your favorite Masters sculpture.  It’s also the deadline for sand sculptures in the Team Competition to be complete.  (Sorry, but there’s no public voting in that class.)  Our panel of expert judges are waiting for right now to begin their evaluation of the Team works.   

5pm: Award Ceremony. City of San Diego and Unified Port of San Diego officials join our all-star panel of judges to present awards in the Team and World Masters Sand Sculpture Competitions, and to the non-sand artists judged best in the Dimensional Art Exposition.

Dimensional Art Awards.  1st, 2nd and 3rd prize awards are presented.

Team Awards.  Grand Prize, 2nd, 3rd and Sculptors’ Choice winners receive trophies and monetary prizes.  

World Masters Awards.  Trophies and monetary awards are presented for Grand Prize, 2nd, 3rd, People’s Choice and Sculptors’ Choice. We name the Grand Prize winner in the World Masters class and find out if the trophy goes to one our challengers from Europe, Asia or Canada, or if one of our sculptors from the good ol’ US of A is able to take the trophy back home.  So far, it’s 4 to 1 in favor of the away team.  Our 2012 Grand Prize winner was Rusty Croft from just up the street (450 miles or so) in Carmel, CA.  Then things went South.  (Or East, as the case may be.)  The 2013 Grand Prize went to Sandis Kondrats of Latvia.  And just to show how worldly we are, 2014’s Grand went to JOOheng Tan of Singapore.  He came the furthest and did the bestest. The 2015 Grand Prize (and almost everything else) went to Melineige Beauregard from Canada. A little closer to home. But then last year, the Grand went to Ilya Filimontsev from Russia!.


Monday, Labor Day, 4 September


9am: Gates open.  If you weren’t on the pier after the late afternoon award ceremonies on Sunday to see which sculptures were judged best by event officials, didn’t catch the 11pm or 2am news, or simply want to see these amazing sand sculptures up close on their last day on the planet, this is the day to visit the pier. Reminder: sand sculpture is a temporary art form.  As beautiful as they are, the sculptures will be destroyed tomorrow morning. 

There’ll be photographs, maybe even video, but they’ll never be seen again up close, full size, in real life.

Art on the Pier remains open today, but again, this is the last day to see (and buy) our amazing assortment of art works in such a wide range of media.  At 5pm today, our artists pack up and go home to places north and east, near and far.  (Maybe one or two are going south.)  If you want absolutely outrageous gifts for a loved one, or even for yourself or your home and you haven’t yet been to our Dimensional Art Exposition, get here today. 

The huge sandbox, other children’s activities and rides are still open to keep your partner and kids busy while you shop.

And they (and you) can quench their thirst and fill their tummies at any of a dozen gourmet food trucks scattered around our beautiful venue.

11am: Live entertainment begins for the very last day.  There’re new bands, new sets at 11am. 1 and 3.  These folks are some of the best in San Diego.  See the Night + Day section of the Union-Tribune on Thursday, 31 August, for a list of performers for the whole holiday weekend.  (If you can’t find Night + Day, it’s because our ad is wrapped around it!  And fer cryin’ out loud, don’t use it for throwing fish away!)  

Food trucks are open.  Wine and beer are available.

2pm: Great time to be here with the kids and grandkids.  One of our sculptors will again be giving lessons on how to build sandcastles. 

Have a late lunch or early dinner on the pier. We not only have a huge selection of American and international food from our gourmet trucks, but we have tables and seating for about 250, out in the fresh air in the middle of the Bay.  It’s glorious.

5pm:  We close until Labor Day weekend 2018. See you then!