More than 30,000 people convened in Port Aransas over the weekend for the 22nd annual SandFest, the largest native sand sculpture competition in the U.S.—and the first since Hurricane Harvey hit South Texas last year. On Friday morning, a horn sounded on the beach between mile markers 9 and 13, signaling that the eighteen sculptors could start on their soon-to-be sand masterpieces, which they worked on virtually nonstop for three days, hunched over and on their knees, surrounded by crowds who watched the artists at work. The winners were announced Sunday night. Completely run by volunteers, the event gives all proceeds to local charities. SandFest, which some locals call “adult spring break,” was a welcome weekend for business owners who have been looking forward to more visitors returning to Port Aransas. Fifty percent of the two thousand vacation homes are now available to book, with most set to become available by June. Half of the destination hotel rooms are opening now, with hopes to reach an 80 percent capacity by early summer. The lack of lodging options didn’t keep SandFest attendees away from viewing the art, consuming funnel cakes, and riding golf carts in the sand.
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