Cadboro Bay Festival promises plenty of fun in the sun

Sand sculptures return for Cadboro Bay Festival Sunday in Saanich

Myra Hender practises her sand castle making skills at a previous Cadboro Bay Festival at Gyro Park. Professional sand artists will create a Sharknado sculpture for this year’s festival Sunday.

It wouldn’t be a beach without sand. But the 60 tons being trucked to Cadboro Bay isn’t what you’d find on your typical day at the beach.

The 60 tons of sand will be transformed into some astonishing creations just in time for Sunday’s Cadboro Bay Festival at Gyro Park.

“There’s going to be at least four [sculptures] and maybe a fifth,” said main sand sculptor Fred Dobbs, adding the theme of the sculptures will be based on the disaster movie series Sharknado. “We’ve got this big water funnel we’re planning to sculpt with sharks in it.”

Dobbs and his crew of seven sand sculptors will get to work on their creations Friday, compacting the sand that is delivered into form boxes.

“Then we strip away the wooden forms and we carve the hard, densely packed sand,” said Dobbs, adding they will be putting the finishing touches on the sculptures in time to awe the crowds on hand for Sunday afternoon’s festival.

Dobbs just wrapped up the sand sculpting competition in Parksville and has created sand sculptures in South Korea and Kuwait over the past year.

Dobbs got his start in sand sculpting in Ireland when he was just five years old.

“My dad one day buried me on the beach up to my chest in sand and he proceeded to carve me in a sand convertible car,” he said. “So at the tender age of five I was in a car sculpting the steering wheel out of sand.”

It was the late ’80s when Dobbs’ interest in sand sculpting got serious when he became involved with a competition in White Rock. From there he travelled up and down the coast taking part in competitions until he was asked to turn pro.

“So I quit my real job and I got an unreal job as a sand sculptor,” said Dobbs, who more recently began making his artistic creations out of bronze.

But the sand isn’t the only place where you’ll find action during the festival running from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There will be live entertainment throughout the day, with Russell in the Bushes taking the stage at 11 a.m., followed by The O’Briens at 12:30 p.m. and Shaky Ground rounding things out at 1:45 p.m.

“We have quite a mixture of kids activities,” said Saanich community events co-ordinator Rob Phillips. “There will be lots of hands-on displays and activities where kids can learn a little bit about the community.”

One of the new activities this year will be giant inflatable hamster balls. “You get inside and there’s a course that you roll down,” said Phillips.

Another new event is the Fisheye Project, which will see divers turn their cameras on some of the marine life found in Cadboro Bay.

“There’s going to be a live feed up to the beach area so you can actually see what the divers are seeing down in the water.”

Even the food promises to have something for every taste.

“We’ve got your traditional burgers and hotdogs but we also have Greek, Mexican and Persian food that will also be on site,” said Phillips.

But the biggest draw for the festival might be Gyro Park itself.

“It’s probably our most picturesque park in Saanich. There’s been several renovations to the playground area and it’s our best beach within Saanich, so that alone is a big part of the event.”

Thousands are expected to flock to Gyro Park for the festival, with the parking lots expected to quickly reach capacity.

“We do have a shuttle bus service once the parking lots get full,” said Phillips. “We have a shuttle that runs from 12-4 from lot 5 at UVic so you can avoid all the crowds down in the park.”



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