A young contestant gathers wet sand for her team. Photos by Mary Kate Nolan
By Mary Kate Nolan
Hometown Weekly Intern
Childish squeals of delight and urgent whispers of last-minute planning could be heard over the splashing of water at Farm Pond in Sherborn last weekend. Families and friends came together on this beautiful Sunday afternoon to do something remarkable: to build a sand sculpture with their own hands. Locals brought shovels, buckets, and their own personal brand of creativity for some fun in the sun.
Eager anticipation and the spirit of competition swept across the shoreline as competitors were instructed to begin. Immediately, small children rushed to the water’s edge to gather supplies for their team, while fathers attempted to organize and delegate within their groups.Some opted for classic castles molded by sand pails, while others sculpted with their hands and even incorporated rocks and leaves from the nearby woods. The variety of sculptures was impressive as well, featuring everything from a fidget spinner to a sand witch to “The Life Cycle of a Gypsy Moth.”
While many competed simply for the fun of it, the tensions in other groups rose as they raced against the sands of time to put the finishing touches on their unique works of art. After the announcer called for “shovels down,” sculptors and beach-goers had ample opportunity to appreciate one another’s work while the judges deliberated. Contestants freely offered compliments to other groups and explanations of their own pieces to onlookers. A sand shark with rock teeth seemingly emerging from the shore was a crowd favorite.
Finally, the contestants reconvened to hear the announcement of the winners. Each group received a prize for participating and a title suitable to its sculpture (for example, “Most Explosive” for a sand volcano). The children’s faces beamed with pride as they heard their names called and accepted their respective awards.
One father jokingly remarked that it was a victory his family was still together after the stress of coordinating and working together under a time constraint. However, it was evident that the contestants were not only building sand sculptures but also building community with one another. It was an exercise of teamwork and sportsmanship as much as it was one of creativity and skill.
For some, the event is a tradition. According to one attendee, the lifeguards have a “tradition of winning.”
For others, like Monty Vaughn and Joe Meaney, the event was almost exactly as it was when they first attended about 30 years ago. Now, they return with their families to share this “timeless” experience because at the end of the day, the sand may wash away, but the memories will not.