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And they are off! Artists from around the world dig in on Revere Beach

Competitors at the festival. David Mac at left, a sculptor from Belgium from begins to work the sand for his sculpture. (Jim Wilson)

REVERE — At the sound of a horn promptly at 8 a.m. Wednesday, 15 barefoot artists rushed to their respective stations to begin manipulating and molding their 15-ton piles of sand.

Climbing atop the mounds, they immediately began cutting away at the sand with shovels and hoses. The competitors will each have a total of 26 hours to craft their creations. Most of day one was spent packing the fresh sand into wooden frames, held together with pieces of plastic wrap. The artists will then carve away at the large blocks, much like they would with a piece of stone.

Many of the artists came prepared with a carefully crafted design in mind, using a specific strategy to bring their vision to fruition, but others are letting the sand dictate its own fate.

Competitor Paul Hoggard from England begins to work the sand for his sculpture. (Jim Wilson)

“Usually I know,” said Enguerrand David or “David Mac,” a sculptor from Belgium. “This time, I have no clue what I’m going to do.”

Mac has visited Revere Beach to compete twice before, but this time he’s taking a new approach.

“Sometimes I’m not inspired by anything,” he said. “It’s an interesting experience to see what I come up with.”

Spectators can watch the creative process along a stretch of Revere Beach, but the International Sand Sculpting Festival doesn’t kick off until Friday. The weekend will be filled with live bands, events for children, sandcastle making lessons, a Cirque du Soleil show, fireworks, and other festivities.

The event is expected to draw about about a million people to Revere Beach.

“We showcase what we have,” said City Councilor Arthur Guinasso. “People come down here and see how clean it is here. It’s a great tribute to the people of Revere.”

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