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Sand sculptures festival in Belgium

Updated on May 12, 2013

Do you know why people go to Disneyland? They want to fell themselves a child again. If they say they want their kids to have some fun it is also true, but deep in heart we all are children. We often feel joy just because of simple things. I had the same feelings this year. I visited a festival of sand sculptures in Blankenberg Belgium.

I have heard about sand sculptures before and I was always curious what can be built using just sand? Seems nothing except some rows and little hills which kids proudly call - “my sand castle”. I was a kid too and I also built sand castles and basing on my “rich experience” of childhood I doubted if anyone can use sand as a material for sculptures.

But this summer I was lucky to be in Belgium and saw what a real artist can make out of sand. Every year a festival of sand sculptures is organized on a North Sea shore in a small town Blankenberge by a group of enthusiasts. This summer festival was devoted to the world of Disney and his remarkable characters. Two big expositions were located under huge tents and a third one was just in the open air.

The Festival is held every year and became already a major attraction for numerous tourists. An international team of around 40 artists comes here to build another reality. They build a world where you feel yourself an “adult child”. Numerous characters of Disney were created with huge love and fantasy. You can see here Cinderella standing next to the Harry Potter, Mickey Mouse and Goofy, and many more.

It is still unbelievable that the sand sculpture can stand rains and direct sunlight without much damage. Probably the secret is in the special sand with some clay in it. Around 10000 (!) tons of such sand were delivered here especially for a festival. If you want to see the process of sculpture creation you may see it on page http://vimeo.com/43105666 . The process is long and demands much work and attention.

Every year more and more visitors come to Blankenberge to appreciate the talent of artists. In 2010 a Festival of Sand sculptures was entered in a Guiness Book of World Records as the biggest composition made of sand. I can not compare this year's festival with the year 2010 but the exposition of this year was absolutely amazing! Sometimes it is hard to believe that all details of sculptures including for example the mustache and hats of characters could be made of sand.

May be there are some secrets of making sand castles, but I do not even want to know them not to ruin the feeling of magic world around me. I saw both kids and adults absolutely amazed by an ability of artists to create sculptures which seem to have a soul. It is somewhat like listening to a musician who can play music. You can hear this music, you can enjoy it but, alas, it does not exist materially. Sand sculptures are the same music. They are created by artists who gave them part of his heart and turned a pile of sand into a masterpiece. A sand sculpture will not stand long, but you can see it, you can touch it and you can try to “read the heart” of the character.

This summer festival will be closed in the beginning of September. If you were not lucky and could not visit this place do come here next summer. Try to find time to visit it! This art is not a long-living masterpiece made of bronze or stone, nevertheless it is a real art. If you are lucky and if your soul will tremble in unison with what you see, you will never forget it. Enjoy it and keep that feeling of childhood in your heart. Bring your children there. May be they will not be amazed by motionless figures now, but when they grow older, they feel the same joy and will surely thank you for this unforgettable experience.

For the 2013 festival a theme "The World`s Collection" was chosen. Opening will be at the 15th of June 2013. I am waiting impatiently for the next little wonder of the World. More information on the Blankenberge Sand Sculpture official website. Hope you enjoy it!

Blankenberge, Belgium

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    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
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      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Thank you Marcy and tillsontitan!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

      Amazing! I got to see an incredible sand sculpture in Port Aransas several years ago (in Texas). It was elaborate, and kept viewers fascinated. A local restaurant dedicated a plot of sand outside its building to regular displays of sand art. Great hub - thanks!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Thank you for solving that mystery for me Pavlo. I, too, wondered how plain old sand could stand up more than a day! The photos you took are absolutely amazing. This was a really fun and beautiful hub.

      Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Glad you liked it! Thank you for a comment!

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      Hehe... a boy's dream! Amazing photos! Voted up and awesome of course!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Great festival and awesome pictures. Interesting,art work in sand! Voted up,

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      mary615 Thank you for a comment. Glad you liked it!!

      frogyfish Exactly the magic! I was so amazed by the fact that made od sand castles stand just in the open air ! Thank you for a comment!

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

      This is amazing! All the work, all that sand magic...like you said, impossible, yet there it is! Thank you for the beautiful pictures.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      These sand castles are unbelieable! I'd sure like to see these.

      I voted this Hub UP, and will share these beautiful castles.

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      I was also impressed by trees!! I visited it in July, it was built in June and all of them were still "in shape" I wonder how it looked in September when it was all over... Thank you for a comment!

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      These are amazing! I can't believe the level of detail, especially on the large castles -- you can see even tiny trees and the stones in the walls! Lucky you to be able to visit in person. Thanks for sharing!

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Thank you! Glad you liked it. I am sure such festivals are pretty much frequesnt. Just need to know where exactly they make it :) Anyway I enjoyed it so much.

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 5 years ago from Oregon

      Wow, this is amazing, I had no idea there were such festivals in the world, great pictures! Sharing your hub!

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      I have to send you some more photos for a better feeling :) and I will not charge for it :)

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      I think it does but I would have to get to Ramsgate first :o). All my vacation money is spoken for this year so your photos will have to do.

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Thank you for a comment! Unlike other readers you are closer to Ostend than anyone else :). You have a chance to see them yourself. Take a ferry from Ramsgate and you are there! (if it still operates).

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Wow Pavlo, what a great hub - I have only reaally seen this kind of thing on a smaller scale on beaches in Majorca and Spain but these are quite epic in scale and Disney is a great theme. Voted up, shared and pinned, very interesting hub, great photos.

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image
      Author

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Hi there, I missed your comments :) and glad you came here and commented. Thank you !

    • aethelthryth profile image

      aethelthryth 5 years ago from American Southwest

      I was thinking, yeah, sure, sand castles are nice, until I saw the pictures. Wow!