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Parksville Beach Festival marks successful comeback in 2022 with record visitor numbers

Sandsculpting exhibition saw 115,217 visitors, higher than 2019
Guy-Olivier Deveau’s sculpture, “The Algorithm”, won in the People’s Choice solo category. (Parksville Beach Festival Society photo via Facebook)

The Parksville Beach Festival wrapped up its comeback year with some impressive gate attendance numbers.

Gate ambassadors for the 2022 Quality Foods Sand Sculpting exhibition welcomed 115,217 visitors during the five-week festival, surpassing 2019’s total of 115,118, according to a news release by Parksville Beach Festival Society.

“Beach Fest has made a comeback!” said Cheryl Dill, Parksville Beach Festival Society president.

“We are so pleased with the positive feedback from local residents and visitors.”

Event organizers were pleased with the strong attendance after the event’s two-year event hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sand sculptures at Parksville Community Beach will be deconstructed this week.

“Seeing the sculptures come down is bittersweet for the Parksville Beach Festival volunteers and staff,” stated the release.

“But they have much to celebrate, thanks to a strong return to their summer of events.”

More than 102,000 votes were cast by visitors for the People’s Choice award during the festival’s five-week run, according to the release.

Guy-Olivier Deveau, from Quebec, won in the solo category for his sculpture, ‘The Algorithm’. Guy Beauregard and Seveline Beauregard, also from Quebec, took home the double’s prize for ‘I Gotta See a Man about a Dog’.

READ MORE: Big crowds turn out at outdoor theatre for ‘Rock the Park’ in Parksville

“These are highly coveted awards amongst the master sculptors in our competition,” said Dill. “People had many favourites but the winners were clear.”

The festival also included the Canadian Tire Sculpt Like the Pros sculpting lessons, the Arbutus RV Artisan Market, Party City Buskers and the Coastal Community Credit Union sculpture light-up, which complemented the Quality Foods Festival of Lights.

The new Parksville Outdoor Theatre, managed by the society, hosted the Tim Hortons Summer Concert Series and the popular Mid Island Co-op Rock the Park music festival.

The 2022 Quality Foods Sand Sculpting exhibition’s July opening weekend saw numerous sculpting awards presented to competitors from B.C. and around the world.

First place in the solo competition went to ‘Spirit of Aviation’ by Dan Belcher from the U.S. Second place went to Guy-Olivier Deveau, from Quebec for ‘The Algorithm.’ Third place was a tie between Peter Vogelaar, of B.C. for ‘Belle’ and Damon Langlois, of B.C., for ‘What a Wonderful World.’ Rounding out the top five was Francisco Calvillo, from Mexico, for his piece ‘The Vortex – An Extraordinary Love Story.’

On the doubles side, first place went to Susanne Ruseler, of the Netherlands, and Sue McGrew from the U.S. for ‘Un Bear a Bull’. The Netherlands’ Wilfred Stijger and Edith van de Wetering received second place for ‘Roarrr!’ Third place was a tie between Brian Wigelsworth and Matt Long of the U.S., for ‘The Cotton Club’ and British Columbian Fred Dobbs and American Ted Siebert for ‘Badda Bing, Badda Boom.’

Parksville Beach Festival Society’s mandate is to create fun, family-friendly events on Parksville’s main beach and to support community growth.

According to their policies, the society assigns 25 per cent of its gate proceeds to community projects and philanthropic groups. Contributing to the maintenance and development of Parksville Community Park is also a high priority.

Since 1999, the society has donated $1 million to non-profit organizations and community projects, which include construction of the park gazebo and community signs. It also reserves funds annually to help sustain future events, which can be threatened by such things as inclement weather.

For 2022, the society aims to donate to 25 not-for-profit organizations, which served as gate greeters at the entrance to the sand sculpting site during the public exhibition. The exact donation will be determined in the coming weeks, according to the society.

— NEWS Staff, submitted

About the Author: Parksville Qualicum Beach News Staff

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