Sand Sculpting Festival Hits Revere Beach

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Deb Barrett-Cutulle poses with one of her sculptures for the 2017 Sand Sculpting Festival. She was pleased it was the Saugus company Prime Energy, one of the festival sponsors.

Sand sculptors will amaze and delight the predicted hundreds of thousands of onlookers when the International Sand Sculpting Festival 2017 comes to Revere Beach July 21-23.

The Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival has grown into one of the largest sand sculpting festivals in the country. Each year sculptors from all over the world come to compete for one of the largest grand prizes in the world. Sculptors work for four days creating masterpieces on the beach with nothing but sand and water. Every year the event features a People’s Choice competition where the public gets to vote for its favorite sculpture.

This year’s festival, with the theme of the Tall Ships and the USS Constitution, also features a full line-up of live entertainment, amusement rides, fireworks, a food truck festival and much more.

Sculptors from around the world will descend on America’s First Public Beach and one of the finest is Saugus’s Deb Barrett-Cutulle, in her third year competing solo. Last year she won the People’s Choice award and split the $1,200 prize money with another sculptor.

Cutulle, who grew up in Everett, has a background in illustration, which has transferred nicely to sculpting in sand. Before she begins a sculpture, she draws it out. Then it is on to her sandboxes, one in her backyard and one tabletop version. The key is in the sculpture’s eye.

“Most (sculptors) have an artistic background, but some people just fall into it,” she said.

Each site for a sculpture on the beach has 10 tons of sand to work with.

“Sand is forgiving. If it crumbles off you can put it right back on,” said Cuturelle while on a break from sculpting on Revere Beach.

After putting hours of work to sculpt something in sand, Cutulle said you get accustomed to having your art knocked down. Taking a photograph afterwards is the only lasting impression of the sculpture.

“It’s harder for people to see them taken down,” she said. “That’s why I like to practice in my backyard. Sculpt something, knock it down and do it again.”

Cutelle has honed her skills on Revere Beach and at other sand sculpting competitions. She worked as a team with Steve Tapazio at the Woodstock Fair in Rhode Island and at the Treasure Island, Florida competition with Dan Doubleday and Meredith Corsin-Doubleday. In order to get into sand sculpting, most people are invited by another sculptor.

Working in 90 degree heat and humidity may turn some people off but Cutulle says it doesn’t bother most.

“You get so absorbed in what you’re doing you don’t feel the sun,” she said.


Sand sculptors for the Solo Competition are as follows:


Deborah Barrett-Cutulle of Saugus, Massachusetts

Mélineige Beauregard of Quebec, Canada

Dan Belcher of St. Louis, Missouri

Jonathan ‘Jobi’ Bouchard of Montreal, Canada

Paul Hoggard of Bulgaria

Dmitry Klimenko of St. Petersburg, Russia

Sue McGrew of Tacoma, Washington

Pavel Mylnikov of Moscow, Russia

Andrius Petkus of Lithuania

Morgan Rudluff of Santa Cruz, California

Susanne Ruesler of Ultrecht, Netherlands

Steve Topazio of Tiverton, Rhode Island

Nikolay Torkov of Moscow, Russia

Leonardo Ugolini of Forli, Italy

Marianne van den Broek of Key West, Florida

Abe Waterman of Prince Edward Island, Canada

The 2017 International Sand Sculpting Festival will also feature the availability of lessons from highly trained, sand sculpting professionals. Returning, once again, to lead these lessons are Sandi ‘Castle’ Stirling and Raymond Poirier of Ontario, Canada.

Hours for the 2017 Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival on Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22 are 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday, July 23 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday at 9 p.m. there will be fireworks launched from a barge off Revere Beach. Admission is free and open to the public.

Police Chief James Guido said people should expect delays down in the Revere Beach area during the festival.

“Stay clear of the area if you don’t need to be there,” Guido said. “The event has overgrown the venue.”


schedule of events for the 2017 sandcastle festival

FRIday & SATurday: 10am – 10pm           

SUNday: 10am – 8pm

Friday, July 21, 2017

6:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Boston 25 Zip Trip

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Live Music from

The Johnny Romance Band

5:00 p.m.

Sand Sculpting Competition Ends

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Live Music from Richie

Rich and the 24 Karat Funk

5:45 p.m.

Welcome Ceremony @ Stage

8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Live Music from Overdrive


Saturday,  July 22, 2017

11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Live Music from Decades of Rock

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Live Music from the Brian Richard Trio

2:00 p.m.

Sculpting Competition Ends

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

People’s Choice Voting

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Live Music from Smokin’ Joe & the Henchmen

7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Live Music from World Premiere Band

9:00 p.m.

Fireworks Extravaganza

Sunday, July 23, 2017

11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Revere Catholic Youth Choir

11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Music from DJ Eddie Ahearn

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Performances by the Rachel Ferrante Academy of Performing Arts

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Revere Karate School Demonstration

3:00 pm. – 6:00 p.m.

Live Music from The Great Escape

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