Taipei, May 3 (CNA) A sand sculpture festival set to kick off May 5 at a beach on the northeastern coast of Taiwan will feature popular movie characters and sports icons, as well as an array of sculptures featuring dragons and other motifs, the organizer said Wednesday.
This year’s Fulong Sand Sculpture Art Festival, to run until June 24, will outshine previous festivals in both quality and quantity, Hsu Cheng-lung, director of the Tourism Bureau’s Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area Administration, said Wednesday.
He said the festival will showcase 44 sand sculptures by artists from Taiwan and various other countries, including the Netherlands, the United States, Canada and Japan.
Highlights will include sand portrayals of basketball star Jeremy Lin, Washington Nationals pitcher Chien-Ming Wang and world no. 1 female golfer Yani Tseng.
An American team of sculptors will also create a gigantic “Universal Studios” sculpture that will feature movie figures such as Shrek, Batman, the Hulk and the Fantastic Four. The sculpture, 7 meters tall and 17 meters wide, will require 1,200 tons of soft sand, said Hsu.
Also on display will be a diverse lineup of sculptures on this year’s theme of “dragon residing in Fulong,” according to the administration.
Giving a bit of background information on the event, Taiwanese sculptor Wang Sung-kuan said the weather is the biggest challenge for sand sculptors.
Artists are forced to start all over again if it rains before adhesive applied to the sculptures dries sufficiently to hold the pieces together, he said.
For example, he went on, he had originally planned to make a 3-meter-tall bodhisattva sculpture, but rain disrupted his work, leaving him with only the head of the bodhisattva.
The festival will be open to the public free of charge from 8 a.m. to noon on opening day, and visitors will be able to make their own sand sculptures on the weekends throughout the festival, the administration said.
Winners of a sand sculpting competition will be announced May 20, with prizes of NT$30,000 (US$1,027), NT$20,000 and NT$10,000 awarded to the top three entries.
The annual festival, which was held at Fulong beach for the first time in 2008, attracted more than 350,000 visits in 2011, the administration added.
(By Liu Li-jung and Christie Chen)