Creating the Sand Pile

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 39,961
    Mark Venit, one of the world’s most renown sandcastle builders demonstrates how create the sand pile.

    Mark Venit

    Mark Venit is one of the world’s most renown sandcastle builders, specializing in authentic-looking works that, viewed from a distance, look like the real thing! Winner of more than a hundred local, regional, and international competitions, Mark and his work have been featured on television shows, in commercials and print ads, and at trade fairs and conventions, throughout the USA, Canada, and Europe, as well as in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. His passion since childhood has been castles, knights, and things medieval, and, when working in Europe, he spends his free time visiting castles and cathedrals. Having visited more than 300 of them and taking extensive notes and photographs, he has a first hand knowledge and appreciation of the history and architecture of the fortresses and palaces built by ancient masons and artisans. His home in Ocean Pines, Maryland, near the white, sandy beaches of Ocean City, Maryland, is decorated in medieval splendor, replete with heraldry, tapestries, reproduction thrones, trophy mounts, and bathed in authentic 12th Century colors and wall textures. Even his cats have royal names – Charlemagne, Louis XIV, and, well, “Princess” Tiger Lily. Occasionally lecturing on medieval times and architecture, Mark constructs castles and cathedrals using members of the audience to demonstrate the physical principles involved and uses people’s bodies, arms and legs to build roofs, walls, columns, and flying buttresses. In his “other” life he is a management and marketing consultant and author of over 400 articles in trade and professional journals. A graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, where he earned his bachelors and masters degrees, he’s also the Chairman of West Palm Beach, Florida-based ShopWorks Software Corporation.

    Hi, I am Mark Venit and I am a Professional Sandcastle Builder. Yes, that means I actually get paid to do this sometimes. In this first step, we are going to make a big pile of sand, which fortunately members of the Ocean City Beach Petrol were here earlier and built this. It took three people an hour to build a pile this large and Kristen, who is also a member of Beach Petrol, moisture, whether you are filling buckets or you have the opportunity to have a hose, which is not allowed often, but you got to keep it wet. When I pound into this, you can hear it. Its been packed and pounded and soaked. You cant build a castle if it is not moist. The sand isnt going to work.

    There are different kinds of sand, and in this part of beach we have a very, very fine granular sand one of the best -- as good as it gets in America. When you have too much debris or dirt in it, little piece could wreck an entire turret or an ear, if you are building a monster. And in terms of what kind of shovels to use, some people like curved spade shovels, other like long handles, some people like short handles. I like this, because it helps me build motes. It doesnt weigh a whole lot, gives you lots of angles, but dont go out and buy shovels just yet, until you find out youre in love with piling sand. As you are building your pile, you are constantly packing it, which means Ill be able to make cuts and it will keep a lot of its rigidity. Next we are going to built the towers of the castle.