By Matt Rocheleau, Town Correspondent
A ‘Boston Strong’-themed sculpture will serve as the centerpiece of next weekend’s 10th annual National Sand Sculpting Festival at Revere Beach.
The ‘very large’ sculpture will stand as a ‘tribute to the victims and public safety personnel that exemplified the true nature of New Englanders this past Patriots Day,’ said a statement Friday from the nonprofit Revere Beach Partnership, which runs the festival.
‘After the tragic events at this year’s Boston Marathon, it became obvious to us that we needed to change the theme of this year’s event,’ said a statement from John Hamel, president of the partnership’s all-volunteer board of directors. ‘We are honored to create this tribute to the victims of that day and to the thousands of public safety personnel that sprang into action.’
Surrounding the ‘Boston Strong’ piece, 15 competing sculptures will be built by a record 25 master sculptors utilizing more than 350 tons of sand as they square off for thousands of dollars in prizes. More than 500,000 spectators are expected to flock to watch their artistry over the course of the three-day festival, which will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Friday, July 19 to Sunday, July 21.
To celebrate the festival’s 10th year, organizers said they have not only increased the field of competitors, but have also tripled the footprint of the festival.
More than two dozen food trucks are expected to roll in for the festival. And, organizers said they have: doubled the amount of pyrotechnics used for the festival’s Saturday-night fireworks show, which starts at 9 p.m.; expanded the children’s learning center; added a new fitness stage and a metal detector treasure hunt; and revamped the live entertainment programming.
‘This year’s event will be the largest and best to date and we look forward to welcoming the families of New England to Revere Beach,’ Hamel said.
The festival is free and open to the public.
The nonprofit receives support through various sponsorships and co-hosts the festival with the City of Revere and the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.
‘Revere is truly one of the east coast’s hidden gems and we are so very proud of our pristine three mile crescent shaped beach,’ said a statement Revere’s Mayor Daniel Rizzo. ‘Revere Beach is America’s first public beach, a National Historic Landmark, and it remains as vibrant as ever as it continues to welcome families from throughout New England.’
‘We are pleased to be a part of this wonderful festival,’ Jack Murray, commissioner of the state’s conservation and recreation department, added in a statement. ‘As stewards of Revere Beach, all of us at the DCR are so pleased to see the people of the Commonwealth enjoy this natural resource. This event at historic Revere Beach exemplifies so well the value of our mission to improve the vital connection between the people and the environment.’
For more information and a schedule of festival events, visit www.nationalsandsculptingfestival.com.