Sand Sculpting Festival: Bigger and Better Than the Hype

The spotlight shines, literally and figuratively, on Revere Beach, where thousands flocked to the National Sand Sculpting Festival.

If one were to gauge the success of this past weekend’s National Sand sculpting Festival on Revere Beach by crowds alone, then it was a smashing success.

Crowds were estimated prior to the festival to be around 300,000 people for the four-day period, and organizers said preliminary public safety estimates indicated that there were 300,000 people in attendance on Saturday alone.

No one yet is attempting to even make a guess at just how many people came to the event over the entire four-day period.

Hordes of people from all over the region – and many from out of state – converged on the Beach late last week and weekend to take in what has become one of the best beach festivals on the East Coast.

“I thought it was the best ever,” said Partnership Executive Director Ernie Garneau, noting that 3,500 kids passed through the Learning Center just on Saturday. “It was a huge expansion to attempt in one year. About halfway through it, I felt we might have done too much, but working with Conventures we knocked it down one piece at a time and pulled it off.

“The thing that worked the best this year was putting Revere all in one place – the volunteers, the talented musicians and the community organizations,” he continued. “That was our community on display down there for the world to see and anybody down there would say, ‘Wow, what a great community this is.’ Everyone had a great time.”

State Police said that they had no serious problems to report for the third straight year in a row, as did Revere Police.

“The event went well from our point of view,” said State Police spokesman David Procopio. “There were very few problems with the crowd, and we made a couple of arrests for disorderly conduct, but nothing more. There were no gang-related problems during the weekend. It was a great event and the State Police were happy to be part of it.”

Police Chief Terence Reardon said that there were more people there than they’ve seen in many years, and he said that is was worth noting that there were no major problems.

“It was clearly, in terms of a draw, a success because there were massive amounts of people down there,” he said. “It was a very positive event and we were happy to be a part of it. In the future, they’re going to have to come up with a plan to accommodate all of the people that are coming. There were no problems, but there were a lot of lost children calls and traffic was pretty difficult. Other than that, it was great.”

This year’s festival brought several “villages” together and a vendor tent set-up that emulated a Main Street.

Garneau said that was no accident.

“Having those vendor tents were absolutely successful,” he said. “We had the concept this year of a series of villages and the vendor tents were Main Street. The bandstand was like the Town Common and then there were a series of villages – the Children’s Village, the Learning Center and the Hospitality Tent. Next year, we’ll move the sculptor’s tent closer in and have an Artist’s Village. The whole village concept wasn’t by accident. We wanted to build a community that mirrored Revere. We wanted to recreate Revere within that space on the Beach.”

This year was also the first year that there was an Opening Ceremony, which went off very well and will be continued.

Garneau said that the carousel would return next year as well, but they would like to place it on the grass within Fran Doris Park.

Speaking of next year, that topic is already on the table, Garneau said. And because of this year’s great success, more sponsors and participants are stepping to the plate very early.

“We really raised the expectations of the community,” he said. “The festival just ended and people are already talking to me about next year. On the financial end, we’ll come out dead even or a little bit ahead. This year we’re going to be working on sponsorships earlier and because they saw this year’s success , they’re willing to play ball with us now so to speak.”

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