Surfers Paradise will host Australia’s most whimsical artistic celebration this summer, as Sand Safari 2016 transforms the foreshore into a fantasy sandscape featuring favourite DreamWorks film characters from February 5 to 28, 2016.

The popular free event features the Australian Sand Sculpting Championships, drawing thousands of spectators to admire the talents of 12 Australian and international sculptors as they carve magnificent sculptures of Kung Fu Panda and his DreamWorks friends over three days from February 12 to 14.

Visitors can vote for their favourite creation between February 12 to 14, with winners to be announced at 4pm on February 14. The completed imaginative masterpieces – each carved from 10 tonnes of sand – will then remain on display on the iconic foreshore until Sunday February 28.

Families can also see sculptors live at work from February 17 to 21 as they collaborate to craft three separate interactive works including a 20-tonne and two 15 tonne works depicting characters from Madagascar Madness, Shrek’s Faire Faire Away and Kung Fu Panda, with the sculptures able to be explored once complete. The interactive sculptures will be on display from February 22 to 27.

For the first time in its five-year history, Sand Safari partners with SWELL Sculpture to present a breathtaking open-air exhibit of inflatable art interventions, created by internationally renowned UK artist, Filthy Luker.

Best known locally for creating an enormous inflatable octopus positioned on Currumbin’s Elephant Rock in 2014, Luker has produced hundreds of innovative sculptures, among them giant squids attacking cities, diversions around huge banana skins and trees accented with oversized googly eyeballs.

Also new this year, will be a pop-up gallery featuring the works of professional and amateur artists as well as those of Surfers Paradise State School students as part of sand-and-sea themed photography competitions.

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