PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh is set to host a stunning celebration in sand this summer, starting this week.

Beginning July 2, ten of the top sand sculptors in the world will arrive in Schenley Plaza to compete in the “Sand City Spectacular International Master Sand Sculpting Championship.”

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Featuring acclaimed artists from seven different countries, the competition will also serve to celebrate Pittsburgh’s 200th anniversary. Sculptors will model their creations after the Steel City’s milestones — occasions or themes reflecting its two hundred years of history.

“This is a free event for the region. We’ve got some of the top world champion sculptors here coming to Pittsburgh to erect what is going to be a spectacular sand scene for sure,” Michael Dongilli said.


Each team receives 40 tons of sand to fashion the intricate details of their sand sculptures. The teams will be given a week and 54 work hours to make their creation in the heart of Schenley Plaza.

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“Anything from beautiful figures that have been made and then abstract designs, architecture. They are the best in the world. These people are fantastic. If you come down here, you are going to be blown away,” Jill Harris said.

Made possible through a grant from Pittsburgh-based Colcom Foundation, the event pits five, two-person teams—all vying for publicity, peer/spectator accolades and, of course, prize money.

Each will compete for a $14,000 total purse, with awards ranging from $8,000 “Best of Show” honors to a “People’s Choice” title as voted on by spectators.

Although the July 2 date officially marks the start of the competition, mainstay activities of the Spectacular happen the weekend of July 9-10.

More details available here.

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