Broadway Pier and Pavilion
1000 North Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101

2017 & 2018 Winners!
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The U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and Dimensional Art Exposition is open to the public for 4 days: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Aug 31-Sept 3, 2018. The event will be open past dusk for the first time; sculptures will “light the night” and will be decoratively lit from top to bottom inside the beautiful Port Pavilion on the Broadway Pier

The Schedule


Friday-8/31 | Saturday-9/01 | Sunday-9/02 | Monday-9/03 (Labor Day!)

EVERY DAY (See each day’s hours below)

DIMENSIONAL ART EXPOSITION. Because our giant sand sculptures (see below) would seriously mess up your carpet, we encourage guests to browse and buy more than 1,000 hand-crafted works of art in media like metal, glass, ceramics, wood, fabric . . . home décor, clothing and accessories, jewelry and more by hand-picked artists from throughout California and the Southwest. They’re on display every day on the front half of the beautiful Broadway Pier.

LIVE BIG BAND ENTERTAINMENT. On our Main Stage, LIVE BANDS that pay tribute to great musicians like the Beatles, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Journey and more — even Elvis!

KID ZONE. Rides and activities for kids are scattered around the pier, from the Broadway Landing to the West end. A giant sandbox, of course, with frequent appearances by professional sand sculptors who teach your kids how to build sandcastles. More fun activities too, like a European Bungee Jump, Bubble Fun that lets your kids walk on water (yeah, we know, grandma and grandpa think they do that anyway), a mini obstacle course and more.

FOOD AND DRINK. For your epicurean delight, many of San Diego’s best food trucks and purveyors, serving sandwiches, entrees, desserts and beverages are on the pier. Because our sand sculpture and overall event theme is “Celebrate”, there’s champagne, wine and beer available in multiple locations. Oh, and there are lots of seats and
shaded tables too, with great Bay views to boot.

V.I.P. AREA. If you’re a V.I.P. or just want to be for the weekend (at extra cost of course), you’re invited to enjoy food and drink in a special area with the very best views in the sanddom at the extreme West end of the Pier, almost in the middle of the Bay.

SUNSET: For the first time, the Sand Sculptures will be illuminated each night. Stay for the sunset and the colorful sights after dark, Friday thru Sunday.

Friday, Preview Night, August 31 (5pm – 9pm)

5pm: The U.S. SAND SCULPTING CHALLENGE opens to the public at 5pm this year, after work and after school. Master Sculptors come from around the globe, including Italy, the Netherlands, Latvia, Russia, Canada and Australia (our amazingly talented Aussie is actually from Tasmania, but she’s anything but a Devil). They challenge the best from the United States to earn their share of more than $60,000 in prizes and appearance money. These World Masters compete in an epic solo, head-to-head competition that begins on the previous Wednesday and ends at the 2pm deadline on Saturday. So when the event opens, their masterpieces are already two-thirds complete, Friday afternoon and Saturday morning are great times to see them finalize the details and watch their incredible sculptures come to life. (V.I.P.s can come back as many times as they like, Sunday and Monday too, just for one price.)

I.B. CHALLENGE. The 3 teams that won it all during the last decade of the U.S. Open Sand Sculpting Competition in Imperial Beach (2002-2011) now with 4 artists each, challenge each other once again on the downtown San Diego waterfront. This rivalry actually goes back further, with second generation team members now in the fight. Teams have more hands to carve so they can work wonders in sand in just 2 days, rather than 4. You might catch a glimpse of them “pounding up” their sand piles on Friday, but they do most of their creating on Saturday and must finish by a 2pm deadline for judging on Sunday.

Saturday, September 1 (10am-9pm)

10am. Gates open for the day. World Masters solo sculptors are in their final hours of competition. Public voting starts at 2pm (see below). I.B. Challenge 4-person teams start before you get here and carve until they’re pooped. This is a fun time to watch the detail work and the see the team members scramble & toil together.

Dimensional artists exhibit and sell all day. There’s music all day and it goes live at noon. Kid zone activities, food purveyors and refreshing adult beverages are waiting for you throughout the event.

2pm. Deadline for sculptures in the World Masters Class to have all the details 100% complete. Voting starts for the Peoples’ Choice Awards for the World Masters competition. If you want your voice to count, vote from 2pm today through the night and until 2pm Sunday. It’s all electronic this year. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to learn more about the voting specifics when announced.

7pm. Pooped or not, the bell rings on the first day of the I.B. Challenge Team Competition … to be continued bright and early tomorrow morning.

SUNSET. This year we stay open late. The sand sculptures and entire Broadway Pier and Landing are illuminated each night. It’s awesome. Stay for the sunset over San Diego Bay and the colorful sights, sounds and activities of the City after dark. We’re open til 9, so this is a great way to start your late date night. (Sunday too.)

Sunday, September 2 (10am-9pm

10am.  Gates open. All of the World Master sculptors are done and their works are judged 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. They are among the most interesting & friendly people in the world and mostly happy to chat with you.

2pm. This is the deadline for voting for World Masters People’s Choice. Deadline also for I.B. Challenge Team sculpting. All sculptures must now be complete.

5pm or thereabouts. 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 I.B. Challenge 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.
  • I.B. Challenge 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.

SUNSET. This year we stay open late and the sand sculptures and entire Broadway Pier and Landing are illuminated each night. Stay for the sunset and the colorful sights after dark. Eat, drink, shop and be merry … and enjoy the bands on the Main stage.

Monday, Labor Day, September 3 (10am-7pm)

10am Gates open.

Gates open.  View all of the completed, amazing sand sculptures up close, on their last day on the planet. Yes, sand sculpture is a temporary art form and as beautiful as they are, the sculptures will be destroyed Tuesday morning.  Award winners are noted on sculpture descriptions for both the Teams and the World Masters. Some international Masters may take some time from resting after their grueling competition and before their long trips home, to stop by the Pier and chat with our patrons.

All day. The full list of our daily activities with dimensional artists, live music, eating, drinking and soaking it in, continue.  And don’t forget the rides, fantastic sandbox with special appearances and lessons from the pros, and other kids’ activities too.

7pm:  We close until Labor Day weekend 2019. See you then!