On Saturday, nearly 500,000 pounds of donated sand will transform one of North Adams's main roads into an urban beach for the 20th annual Eagle Street Beach Party.
Local artist Eric Rudd came up with the event, but said the beach looks much different now than it did in 1999.
“For the first few years, I got the sand from a construction company, and I called it sand,” he said. “But in comparison to what we have now, it was probably closer to dirt.”
The new sand is a brighter blend of ground-up limestone donated by Specialty Minerals, a mining company in nearby Adams.
A rotation of trucks delivers the sand to Eagle Street, where volunteers help staff from Rudd’s studio and the City Events Department to spread the beach by hand.
After the sand castle contests and dance party, the city said it takes the Department of Public Works about three hours to turn their land-locked beach back into a road.
“[The Department] uses dump trucks, front loaders, and shovels to pick-up the sand,” Director of Community Events Suzy Helme said in an email. “They often have it squared away by 1 a.m.”
But all that sand won't go to waste. Rudd said the city keeps it for various public projects.
“It’s probably worth about $6,000,” he said about the truckloads of limestone. “So it’s a win-win, and in between, the children have a lot of fun.”