Neptune Festival Weekend 2018

Art, music and of course, sandcastles, are on the docket for this weekend’s Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach.

The 45th annual, 3-day event kicks off Friday at noon. It will continue through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

More than 250 artisans will have their work on display along the boardwalk. The weekend will also feature 35 performances from popular local and national talents. And get this, all the shows are FREE.

One of the highlights of the festival is the International Sand Sculpting Championship. There will be 22 sculptors from 11 countries turning sand into works over the three days of the festival.

According to the official Neptune Festival website, the competition has been the signature event of the festival since its inception, and has grown to the most prestigious event of its kind in the nation. You can view the sand sculptures from under a large tent located at between 4th and 10th Street along the oceanfront. The entrance is at 7th Street.

The 1st place winner of the 2017 International Sand Sculpting Competition. “Dragons,’ by Karen Fralich of Canada. Courtesy: Neptune Festival

Admission to view the sculptures is $5. The tent is wheelchair and stroller accessible, but no pets are allowed. The tours will follow this schedule:

  • Friday, Sept. 28 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 30 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 1 through Sunday Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

There’s a new addition to the sand sculpture contest this year. You can learn how to make your own sand sculpture from a professional! Master Sculptor John Gowdy will hold teaching clinics on the beach. All sand, water and tools will be provided.

Space for the classes is limited and there are no reservations, so just arrive before the class time to participate. They will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29 on the beach at 8th Street. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. will be “Sandcastle Building 101” and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. you will learn “The Art of Sculpting a Dolphin in Sand.”


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