October 10, 2023, Charlestown, RI – South County Tourism Council’s second annual Atlantis RIsing International Sand Sculpture Competition that ran from Friday, October 6, 2023, wrapped up yesterday. Thousands of people came to the shores of Misquamicut State Beach over the long holiday weekend to see Rhode Island’s first and only sand sculpture event featuring 10 artists from around the world who compete for a cash prize with stunning works of art carved out of sand.
“This year’s event surpassed our expectations,” says Louise Bishop, president of South County Tourism Council. “We had great attendance, even on the not-so great weather days. It helped that we had a tent this year to protect the sculptures (and people) from the wind and rain. We heard great things from our attendees, and we particularly want to thank our presenting sponsor, Dunkin’, and the organizers, Greg Grady, Sr. and Greg Grady, Jr. who bring all the artists in and make this event happen. The event brings in visitors, fills up hotels and boosts the local businesses and economy during the off-season, which is our goal,” she concludes.
This year’s artists came from as far away as South Korea, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Canada, Hawaii, and as close as Missouri, Florida and New Jersey. The first-place judge’s prize of $7,500 went to newcomer (to Atlantis RIsing, not sand sculpture) Andrius Petkus from Lithuania for his piece titled “HUGGER-MUGGER’. In second place winning $5,000, the judges’ chose Canadian David Ducharme for his piece “Intertwined”. In the third-place judge’s award, there was a tie so the $4,000 prize was shared between Melineige Beauregard from Hawaii for her piece, “Barn Owl: Queen of the Night” and Susanne Ruseler of the Netherlands for “Shh.” Susanne Ruseler always won the People’s Choice award worth $2,500.
The Verge Aero drone light show on Sunday night featured a tribute to Indigenous culture in honor of Indigenous People’s Day. Attendees enjoyed photo opps with lookalikes Aquaman and Captain Jack Sparrow, live music including local favorites, Sugar, South County’s very own Grammy winner, Billy Gilman, as well as Buddy Fanjoy, Steve Smith and the Nakeds, Dan Burke & the Royal Treatment, Island Time Steel Drum Band, Latin Mix and The Sultans. The Windjammer provided two tasty signature cocktails – Poseidon’s Potion and Revenge of the Kraken – as well as beer, wine and other spirits.
The South County Tourism Council is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the towns of Charlestown, Coventry, East Greenwich, Exeter, Hopkinton, Narragansett, North Kingstown, Richmond, South Kingstown, West Greenwich and Westerly as a single leisure travel destination known as “South County”. For more information, please visit southcountyri.com.