Sand castle artist Damon Langlois puts finishing touches on his octopus at Gyro Park last year.

Art of sand sculpting returns to Cadboro Bay

Greater Victoria's most skilled sand sculptors will descend upon Gyro Park this weekend

Armed with shovels, trowels and pastry knives, some of Greater Victoria’s most skilled sand sculptors will descend upon Gyro Park this weekend to put their artistic talents to the test at the annual Cadboro Bay Festival.

The one-day event, happening Aug. 11, is one of the most popular Saanich summer festivals, drawing between 3,000 and 4,000 people every year to witness the artists at work.

“About six years ago I thought we needed a bit of a different focus, showcasing the park as a backdrop, to make it a little different than our other summer events, and sand-sculpting was a nice fit,” said Rob Phillips, Saanich’s special events co-ordinator. “It really is the jewel of our park system. People instantly recognize the Cadborosaurus and the octopus, and having the sand sculptures in and among those make it a well-known park.”

This year there will be upwards of 10 artists working on five sculptures. The large featured sculpture will have an Arabian Nights theme.

The other four smaller sculptures will be competing for a People’s Choice award for best sand sculpture, and festival-goers will be able to go online to saanichsunfest.ca to vote for their favourite.

The event also features performances by the Victoria Percussion Orchestra, Shag Harbour and Younger Than Yesterday. There will also be food vendors, information displays and activities for the kids, including bouncy castles, face painting and pirate-themed games.

Cadboro Bay Festival runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 11. Overflow parking will be available at the University of Victoria’s parking lot 5, and a shuttle will be on site to take people to and from the beach.

kslavin@saanichnews.com