SandFest back after three year hiatus

Rod Watson. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette staff)




The Friends of Sandbanks sponsored their popular SandFest sand-sculpting event at the mouth of the Outlet River after a three year absence on Wednesday.

SandFest, open this year to all amateur sandcastle builders featured a first time custom trophy prize- The Sandy- for best creation as well as ribbon participation prizes for all participants.

“We had about 20 families participating, and we were delighted at the turnout,” said John Brebner, Chair, Friends of Sandbanks Provincial Park. “That has been slightly lower than our totals in the pre-COVID years, but I suspect with the very positive feedback we received from everyone, we should have an even better year in 2023.”

From left Norah, Oliver, Case and Jessika Kerby take part in Sandfest 2022. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette staff)

For the first time the Friends of Sandbanks had guest sculptor Rod Watson from Kingston. In addition to making his own creation, Watson wandered about the beach area,  offering participants technical advice and sculpting hints to the groups participating.

“It feels good and relaxing actually to be out here on the beach, I’ve had a very fun day.” Watson said. “What got me into sand sculptures was actually a fluke. In 2007, I was camping here at Sandbanks and met a professional sand sculptor practicing and went down to my campsite and made myself a turtle, people went nuts. The next day it was an alligator attacking a shark, same results. The third day, I did a life-size silverback gorilla and from there I was hooked. I’ve competed in a few competitions, won a few, and then was invited to participate at the professional level.”

Another first for the Friends of Sandbanks SandFest was the decision to charge a fee/donation which will go towards the rehabilitation of the Dunes Trail at West Lake.

“This was the first year that we actually had a competition for the best sculpture, and the first time that Kingston sand-sculptor Rod Watson was part of the event, both in his capacity as a judge at our event, as well as providing tips and techniques to all our participants,” stated Brebner. “He is already eager to return next year.”

For more information on the Friends of Sandbanks please visit