Sand + Water + Family Fun = Sand In The City In Downtown Olympia



What do you get when you mix a little bit of water and a lot of sand in Olympia?

The Hands On Children’s Museum’s 12th Annual Sand in the City Event!

This free community party begins at 10am on Friday, August 24th and continues until 5pm Sunday, August 26th.

Families enjoy the huge sandbox at Sand in the City in downtown Olympia. The event supports reduced admission programs at the Hands On Children's Museum.

New and noteworthy this year is the event’s location, which is on the site of the New Hands On Children’s Museum- 414 Jefferson Street NE on Olympia’s East Bay.

Sand in the City is an annual affair benefiting the Free and Reduced Admissions Programs at the Hands On Children’s Museum (HOCM).

Sand sculpting is the basis of the weekend-long event, but children and families are the real reason for the occasion.  Sand in the City has become a summer tradition for people near and far, drawing nearly 50,000 visitors to the  dowtown waterfront throughout the weekend. With the New Museum and the East Bay Public Plaza as the setting,  more than 50,000 guests are expected to attend this year’s event.

Event planners are truly bursting with excitement over this year’s occasion.  Jamin May, HOCM Board member and all around event supervisor, explains that “sand sculptures appeal to all ages, and this year we have the most teams ever.”

“The key thing is that the event makes the connection between Sand in the City and HOCM; it’s not just a community event,” he explains.

Logistically, the event and the Museum are now perfectly positioned to complement and highlight each other.  May explains that by holding the event on site at the Museum staff no longer have to haul the entire Museum down to the waterfront.

On Friday, 14 corporate and community teams with no prior experience, will compete for the coveted Golden Shovel Award. The master sand sculptors will serve as mentors and advisors that day and then on Saturday they start their magic creating a mamoth work of art as visitors watch in amazement and stroll around the museum’s new location.  Public viewing of the sand art will be easier than ever as the competition takes place all along Jefferson Street and in the New Museum parking lot.

Community team members work on their sand sculpture.

Friday night is the traditional adults-only party known as the “SandBlast! Gala.”  Partygoers will get a sneak preview inside the New Museum, as well as being treated to a feast provided by several of South Sound’s favorite restaurants.  Three popular bands will provide entertainment and a chance to boogie the night away.  The LOTT Troubadors, The Torres and The Beatniks will be on hand to kick the gala into high gear.

Anne Larsen, HOCM’s Events and Development Coordinator, is proud to point out the event’s green efforts.  “All vendors are composting and recycling; the dinner ware is even compostable,” she states.

Not only is the SandBlast! Gala a green affair, but the entire event is upping the reduce, reuse, and recycle effort.  This year, Crystal Springs Water is supplying drinking water throughout the weekend for staff and volunteers.

“Instead of supplying disposable bottles to those working the event, water will be available to refill thousands of reusable water bottles donated from our gracious sponsors,” says Larsen.

Saturday’s Community Beach Party promises to be bigger and better than ever this year.  Guests will have access to over 40 hands-on activities, including face-painting, sand boxes, a bubble hut, and many birthday crafts and activities, which celebrate the Museum’s  25th year in our community.

Also available are the traveling exhibits, including the Tide Pool Touch Tank, popular Rock Climbing Wall, and live music and performances throughout the weekend.

Day-trippers will have a chance to visit the neighboring WET Science Center at LOTT and explore the East Bay Public Plaza, which boasts a gorgeous water feature and plenty of spots to sit and relax.  Food stations will be available for guests who plan to picnic and make a day out of the event.

Sunday is Grandparents Day, which will feature special activities for grandparents and their families. Visitors won’t want to miss the People’s Choice Award for the best sand sculpture, which will be announced on Sunday at 4pm.

Beginning on August 24th, the site of the New Hands On Children's Museum will be transformed for Sand in the City, a free community event.

Getting to Sand in the City is easy.  Parking will once again be available in the Swantown Marina parking lots and there is abundant free street parking on Saturday and Sunday.  East Bay Drive is only steps away, and of course the free trolley will be shuttling guests back and forth on Saturday and Sunday.

While Sand in the City is Olympia’s largest free beach party, a $5 donation is suggested and appreciated.  After all, the proceeds go back into the community to provide education and enrichment for families and groups who could use a boost.  Some of the programs being supported by Sand in the City/HOCM are Free Fridays, reduced admission fees for military and foster families and free field trips for rural and underserved schools.

Sand in the City

Friday, August 24th at 10:00 am through Sunday, August 26th at 5:00 pm

For more information, please visit HOCM’s website.



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