July 1st and 2nd 2023

Sand Sculpture Showdown

Bragging rights are on the line for the most Awe-Inspiring Sand Sculpture as three of the top sandcastle building artists prepare to show their stuff. The competition begins at 9am and after the sand sculptures are complete you will have your chance to vote for your favorite until July 4th at 11:59pm. You can vote here for your favorite artist. 

Free Sandcastle Building Lessons

There will be a professional sandcastle builder onsite during the Showdown to give free lessons on how to create your very own, legendary sand sculpture that will amaze everyone who is lucky enough to gave upon your creation.

Lessons will take place by the water’s edge, are free to join, and do not require registration. The lessons will be at the water’s edge.

Who is Competing?

Sue McGrew

Exploding onto the professional sand sculpting scene in 2008, Sue McGrew has enjoyed a meteoric rise to international prominence. More than a decade later, she’s traveled the world to over 60 competitions and dozens of festivals in over 30 countries. Her flowing organic style and expressive figures have won numerous awards in sand, snow and ice. Sue competed in season one of CBC’s reality TV competition “Race Against the Tide” and co-starred on Travel Channel’s TV show “Sand Masters”.

Sue hails from the Tacoma, Washington. An artist since birth, her childhood was spent doodling in sketch books, folding origami and twisting wire to create paper mache figurines. Sue first started sand sculpting at the tender age of 3 in her back yard sandbox, and while she always kept her love of digging moats as she grew up, nothing would prepare her for her first professional gig in Zeebrugge, Belgium… 18 and in love, she found herself enamored by the
romantically impermanent medium of sand sculpture. Sue studied Theatrical Stage Management at USC, but after graduation, she chose to follow her love of sand, sun, and travel as a professional sand sculptor.

Brian McGrew

Brian Turnbough is a professional sand sculptor, mural painter, and furniture builder who has been creating custom works of art for homes, businesses, and events for over 20 years. As a sand sculptor, Brian’s work has taken him all over the world, where he has created sand sculptures for a variety of unique public events and exhibitions. He’s proud to have taken top honors in some of the world’s most elite sand sculpting competitions, including the American Championships of Sand Sculpting and the World Championships of Sand Sculpting. He is continually grateful to be invited to work with and compete against many of the world’s top sand

In addition to sand sculpting, Brian creates painted artwork and wall murals for homes and businesses in the Chicago area with his company- Walls With Imagination. The paintings that he creates on walls and canvases is inspired by the clients that he works with, and represents a collaborative process that builds on the concepts that they come up with together, customizing each piece for the space in which it will be displayed. As a result, the style and scope of his work covers a wide variety of diverse content and stylistic influences.

Brian also has a passion for woodworking and building and has expanded his business over the last several years to include the creation of custom furniture, sculptural reception desks, unique lighted tables, themed room transformations, curved wooden display cases and more.

Brian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in painting and drawing from Eastern Illinois University. He shares a home in Mokena, IL with his wife, Brooke, and their two young sons, Adam and Elton. He splits his love for color and his love for form by sculpting, painting, and building as often as possible.

Lucinda K. Wierenga (AKA “Sandy Feet”)

Lucinda has won a modest amount of international fame with her sand-sculpting skills — carving at major contests and festivals world over since 1987. She has taught generations of SPI visitors how to build a better sandcastle — and has reached untold numbers more with her best-selling book, “Sand Castles Made Simple.” She helped establish SPI Sandcastle Days back in 1987, and she continues to be an event organizer and competitor. Her favorite duo partner is Galveston’s own sand sculpture star – Emerson Schreiner (who also happens to be her nephew!)

Sand Sculpture Information

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