FAIRFIELD - Renowned sand sculptors descended on Fairfield?s Penfield Beach Thursday for the annual Sand Sculpting Festival.

Suzanne Altamare and Sean Fitzgerald were just two of the sand artists who traded in shovels and buckets for backhoes and pastry knives. Participants began at 9 a.m., using more than 20 tons of sand to create a replica of Bellarmine Hall at Fairfield University and other elaborate masterpieces.

?It's like a metaphor for life,? Fitzgerald says. ?I always say sand sculpture art represents life because we are only here for a short period of time.?

The sand sculptures will be here on display at Penfield Beach throughout the weekend, or until Mother Nature washes them away. The festival will wrap up Sunday with a sand sculpting competition.