AIA Sandcastle Competition

Every summer in Galveston, experience over 60 teams competing to win the prestigious Golden Bucket Award.

The AIA Sandcastle Competition is a fundraising event for AIA Houston and ArCH Foundation as well as one of the top five revenue-generating events for the City of Galveston.

Date(s): TBA

About AIA Sandcastle Competition

Every year, over 60 teams put their eyes and shovels on winning the prestigious Golden Bucket Award. Firms begin months in advance generating ideas, developing designs, and assigning duties. On the day of the event the teams, stretched along the beachfront, meticulously sculpt their piles of sand and work non-stop for five hours. While the building and awards takes place on Saturday, the best time to view the structures is the Sunday of the event. Avoid the crowds and bring the family to enjoy these architectural marvels at your own pace on Sunday plus, enjoy free sandcastle building lessons.

The judging of the sculptures is rated on originality of concept, artistic execution, technical difficulty, carving technique, and utilization of the site. In addition to the Golden Bucket, awards are given in several categories including Best Traditional Castle, Best Architectural Icon, Kidtastic! – LEGO Edition, Best Science Fiction, Best Sports and Houston-centric as well as best team t-shirt design, best team signage, best costume, and public favorite. At the end of the day, everyone goes home with memories of a great day at the beach filled with fun, sand, and sun.

Look Back at 2023
A man sits in the sand on a beach and constructs a sandcastle sculpture at the Galveston AIA Sandcastle Competition
Day 1 - Aug 12, 2023
Competition Day

Competitors are hitting the sand and building for five intense hours as they fight to maintain the structural integrity of their sculptures. The competition is considered one of the world’s largest amateur sandcastle competitions and draws thousands of spectators to watch teams vie for the coveted Golden Bucket Award.

A Star Wars-themed sandcastle structure on a beach in Galveston, TX, with text reading Ewoks Rule Troopers Drool
Day 2 - Aug 13, 2023
Bonus Viewing Day

By popular demand, the Galveston Park Board is working to help teams maintain the event's sandcastles overnight for beachgoers to take in these architectural marvels (with potentially smaller crowds).

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1 Hope Blvd
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