Incredible Sand Sculpture

25 Jul 8th Annual U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge – August 31 – September 2!

c3 has been hired once again to promote San Diego’s original and largest sand sculpting challenge the US Sand Sculpting Challenge and Dimensional Art Expo. No this is not the one on the beach this is on Broadway Pier and you will not see sand sculptures like you will with this event. The sculptures cannot be done on the beach because, like all professional sand challenges in the world, this is quarry sand, 300 tons of it which allows it to be compact tighter which makes things sturdier. Get your tickets.

Hailed as Best U.S. Labor Day Event in 2018 by CNN Travel, a Top 20 “Must See” seaside festival in the world by American Express and USA Today’s 10 Best, the U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge and Dimensional Art Exposition returns to San Diego’s downtown waterfront for three days of sun, family-fun and spectacular scenery, Saturday, August 31 – Monday, September 2.

San Diego’s largest Labor Day weekend celebration is one of the world’s most prominent sand sculpting competitions.  It is the focal point of activities that draw over 200,000 visitors to the beautiful Embarcadero and Broadway cruise ship pier.  12 World Master Sculptors carve solo for four days to create museum-quality sculptures reaching up to 15 ft. tall and weighing over 20,000 lbs.  Some of the best sand artists in the world challenge some of the best in the U.S.  In addition, three teams of four recreate the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition that ran from 1980-2011.  In all, there are 20 amazing sculptures.

The theme for this year’s event is “Wonder” which pays tribute to the Port’s Wonderfront 2019 campaign. Sculptors will interpret this theme as they wish, from ephemeral ideas like “curiosity” to the greatest wonders of the world, or even whimsical renditions of Stevie Wonder or Wonder Woman!

The annual Dimensional Art Exposition runs alongside the Sand Sculpting Challenge.  Artists from as far away as New Mexico and Montana exhibit and sell their amazing one-of-a-kind creations.  Visitors can browse more than 2,000 items such as hand-made clothing and accessories, wood carvings and metal designs, beautiful gourds, glass art, jewelry, quilled greeting cards, ceramics and much more — dimensional art they can take home. 

Transportation and Parking 

NEW transportation and user-friendly parking options make getting to and from the event easy.  MTS trolleys and buses, the North County Coaster and Amtrak trains all take event goers within 2 blocks of the Broadway Pier.  The Coronado Ferry disembarks next door!  Lyft and Uber drop event goers at the festival’s front door.

For those who wish to drive, they may park at the U.S.S. Midway or ‘B’ Street pier, both within 2 blocks of the event, or just across Harbor Drive at the Lane Field hotels or Windham Bayside.  Lots of other lots are available nearby, including the Waterfront Park/County Administration Building on West A.  On-street parking is FREE on Sunday and Monday – meters don’t have to be fed.  (On those days, parking is okay at yellow or green curbs.  But blue curb spaces are for handicapped only, and red and white spaces are a no-no.)

For those who want to park remotely and enjoy a fun ride along the Bay, the Port of San Diego’s Waterfront Shuttle runs every 20 minutes in a loop from Sheraton Marina across from the airport on the North to Harbor Drive Bridge near the convention center on the South.  Cost is just $3.  More info at

For those who live or work downtown and have an app called FRED (Free Ride Everywhere Downtown), they just need to call for a ride and tell the driver to take them to the Broadway Pier (1000 North Harbor Drive).

More 2019 Show Features:

  • San Diego Seals lacrosse stars make special appearances to take photos with fans and sign autographs.
  • EXPANDED Kid Zone features sandcastle building lessons from Master Sculptors, and rides such as European Bungie, Bubble Fun, Bounce Houses and more!
  • Families can picnic on the bay with food and drink from over a dozen gourmet food trucks and vendors including: Cousins Maine Lobster, Eat Your Heart Out, The Habit Burger Grille, Matheny’s Wagon Works, Lolita’s Mexican Food, Sophia’s Kitchen, Pomodoro Rosso, Kettle Masters Kettle Korn, Cruising Cones, Goodness Baked Cookie Co., Old School Shave Ice, Maui Wowi and more!
  • Live entertainment from bands paying tribute to the Beatles, Beach Boys, Dylan, Journey and other greats. Special appearances by Elvis on Saturday and Sunday nights!


Saturday, August 31 – Monday, September 2
Saturday, August 31          10am – 8pm
Sunday, September 1        10am – 8pm
Monday, September 2      10am – 7pm

Where: Broadway Pier and Pavilion 1000 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101


Adults (13-62) — $12 online thru 8/10; $15 after and at gate
Seniors (62+) — $10 online thru 8/10; $13 after and at gate
Kids (2 – 12 years) — $8 online thru 8/10; $10 after and at gate
Toddlers (under 2 years) — FREE
Active duty military, EMT’s, fire and police — FREE with valid ID (individual only)

VIP Package (all ages) — Includes weekend-long admission, cut-the-line privileges, very special shaded seating section in the middle of the bay, 2 free drinks, free Habit Burger post-event coupon, and upgraded facilities (value up to $70) — $35 thru 8/10; $40 after and at gate

Tickets available at