Parksville Beach Fest expected to draw thousands

Parksville Beach Fest expected to draw thousands

WATCH: A sand sculpting competition in Parksville has drawn over 130,000 people each of the last two years.

Parksville has some of the most popular beaches on the Vancouver Island and now with the lowest tides of the year, there’s even more of them to enjoy.

“They’re really nice, the kids love them. We’ve been to other countries, have seen their beaches and we should enjoy our own.” said Parksville resident Jeanette Fortin.

With Mount Arrowsmith in the background, it’s a picturesque setting that draws people to the area from across the country.

“We’re in the middle of summer which is our peak season. July and August just goes gangbusters here. It’s pretty busy.” said incoming Chair of the Parksville Qualicum Tourism Association Arthur Wong.

A big part of the draw this weekend will be the sand sculpting competition that began 36 years ago.

Sculptors from as far as Russia, the Netherlands and Italy are displaying their masterpieces for the next five weeks.

“This year’s theme is ‘From Here to the Galapagos’ and these are a huge interpretation for the artist to do their art so it could be anything from a wild creature to environmental or Darwin’s theory of evolution.” said event manager Wendy Sears.

And the display gets better every year.

“Every year they get better and better,” added Sears. “The calibre of sculptors we attract too makes a difference. Its speaks to Parksville, they love coming here, they love it here.”

The beaches here are often referred to as the Canadian Riviera.

“It’s warm like a bathtub so they just love hanging out in the water and paddle around and chase crabs and it’s just a really nice beach environment and people fly kites and it’s just a real vacation resort town.” said Parksville resident Doreen Evans.

“The whole Beach Fest event brings in about 130,000 people for a space of four weeks so for just this week, just that alone will bring at least 20 to 30,000 people.” added Wong.

The sand sculptures will be on display until Aug. 19.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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