‘Sandy Feet’s’ Sandcastle Village challenged by wave of tourism on South Padre Island

Local News

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (KVEO) — The Sandcastle Village on South Padre Island is attracting many tourists, putting a strain on the few employees the establishment has.

Many tourists and new students have been drawn to Sandcastle Village looking to learn the art of building sandcastles.

The director of the Sandcastle Village, Lucinda Wierenga, also known as “Sandy Feet” spoke to KVEO on the tourist influx.

“Tourism is crazy on South Padre Island this summer!” said Wierenga.

Wierenga is not the only one noticing the influx in tourism, according to the South Padre Island Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, in March 2021 SPI saw more tourism on the Island than in 2019, before the pandemic.

“I do think we are having a little bit of a problem getting enough employees—I pay very well—nobody wants to shovel sand—we’re having a hard time finding people willing to work,” said Wierenga.

Benjamin Melchor, an employee, said the demand for sandcastle lessons has increased, and its causing a strain on staff.

Aside from finding extra hands to help out around the Village, finding sculptors has also been unique.

Two Canadian sculptors could not leave the U.S. due to COVID, so they were able to stay longer to contribute to the Sandcastle Village.

“It was so hard to get back into Canada so we have a couple of Canadian sand sculptors that have been here,” said Wierenga. “One of them has been here since last fall.”

Currently, there are two Canadian sculptors in town, Abram Waterman, and Karen Fralich, both 5-time-world-champions for sand sculpting.

Credit: KVEO Iris Karami; Pictured: Lucinda ‘Sandy Feet’ Wierenga & Karen Fralich

According to Melchor, some sculptors could not come at all.

“A few sand sculptors can’t get here because of COVID,” said Melchor.

Though tourism is swarming the Island, both Melchor and Wierenga are encouraging people to see the magic at the Sandcastle Village.

For more information on Sandy Feet Sandcastle Services click here.

Keep up with the Holiday Sandcastle Village of South Padre Island with their social media here.

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