SAN DIEGO — 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. Twelve World Master Sculptors carve solo for four days to create museum-quality sculptures reaching up to 15 feet 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 Wyndham 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. Get more info here.  

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).