Yes, it’s a construction site, and yes, Sunday’s Cadboro Bay Festival is still happening.
And it promises to be a good one.
Don’t mind the giant excavator, as the unfinished upgrades and repairs to the Gyro Beach park and play area will be fenced in.
Among the festival’s many favourites is the return of local sand sculptor Fred Dobbs and his merry band of artists.
When he’s not working full-time at the South Island Bronze Works, Dobbs is heavy into sand sculpting and is a regular at the Parksville competition each year.
The seven sculptors at Cadboro Bay Festival will be split into groups, with Dobbs and a few others taking on the iconic theme of a castle, this year’s central piece.
“It is ironic because we’ve been doing this for a long time and we’ve never made a castle here,” Dobbs said. “People are always misusing the term, calling sand sculptures castles when the feature has nothing to do with castles.”
Pepper’s Foods is paying for the delivery of 30-plus tonnes of angular sculpting sand, and requested the castle theme this year.
It’s given Dobbs an excuse to bring out a 23-year-old book, The Art of Sandcastling, by sculptor Ted Siebart of Chicago.
“(Siebart) is a guy I’ve known for a long time. We’ll see what ideas we can borrow from this old book.”
Sand sculptures at the park are usually built a little closer to the ocean, but the sand will be dumped on the field side of the playground this year. Other sand sculpting sponsors include the Cadboro Bay Business Association, whose team is planning a First Nations theme to represent the people who once lived near the beach. An Abstract Developments’ feature will incorporate earth, wind, fire and water, while B.C. Hydro and Telus have partnered for a fourth sculpture that connects with the environment.
The festival takes place along Sinclair Road. Music starts at 11 a.m. and kids’ activities include pirate school and a pirate treasure hunt.
And despite octopus and other favourites being off limits, the trusty Cadborosaurus is accessible, giving parents a chance to spin its mythical tales to the next generation.
“We just have to put up with the construction this year, but you can see the new play area is going to be a lot of fun, and we’ll be back next year,” Dobbs said.
Cadboro Bay Festival takes place Aug. 10 at Cadboro Bay-Gyro Park.