World Championship of Sand Sculpting kicks off in Federal Way: Doubles teams pound away | VIDEO

The World Championship of Sand Sculpting officially kicked off Wednesday in Federal Way.

A handful of doubles teams spent up to six hours shoveling and pounding sand into blocks for carving. Sculptures will be finished by Saturday in time for judging.

The World Championship of Sand Sculpting runs Sept. 8 through Oct. 3. A vacant parking lot near the Federal Way Transit Center serves as the stage for 63 contestants from 17 nations who will compete in solo, doubles and team competitions. Among the special sculptures slated for this month: A life-size rendition of Oprah Winfrey and a tribute to the U.S. military.

Check it out

• The World Championship of Sand Sculpting runs 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Hillside Plaza parking lot, 31510 20th Ave. S. (near the Federal Way Transit Center). Follow the signs from the South 320th Street exit off Interstate 5.

• Cost is $8.50 for an adult day pass or $6.50 for seniors and children. Family passes are available online at

• From Sept. 15-17, the cost for members of the armed forces (active or retired) is $5 with a military ID and $5 for the military spouse (their children will be admitted free).

Click here for the latest weather forecast.

Click here to read a Mirror report on the financial impact of the World Championship of Sand Sculpting.

The schedule

• Sept. 8-11: Doubles competition. Each team of two will have six hours to pound two semi-loads of sand into forms from which to start carving. From that point, the teams will have 22 hours of time between Sept. 9-11 to finish their sculptures.

• Week of Sept. 12: Master sculptors will carve display sculptures in the gallery.

• Sept. 15-18: Solo and team competitions. Teams with an average of five members each, alongside solo competitors, will shovel and compact sand in preparation for sculpting the rest of the week.

• Sept. 18: Judging and awards ceremony. A panel of international sculptors (three American, one Swiss and one Russian) will judge the sculptures, with awards issued at an invitation-only ceremony.

• Sept. 19 to Oct. 3: Meet the masters. This is an opportunity for spectators and tour groups to meet sculptors as they work in galleries.

• Special displays: The event will feature a tribute to talk show host Oprah Winfrey as well as a tribute to military veterans, MIA/POWs and active duty personnel. The latter sculpture is associated with Rolling Thunder, a national organization dedicated to veterans' causes.

• Food and vendors will be available.

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