Enter Sandman

Like a lot of dads, Sean Fitzpatrick made sandcastles with his kids. Nearly 20 years later, they’ve long since grown out of seaside games, but he never has. Over time, his castles just got bigger and more involved, until they were no longer castles, really, but 10-ton artistic sculptures. Companies began hiring Fitzpatrick for parties, and two years ago he decided art beat the hell out of his job as a Saugus auto mechanic—after all, nobody ever flew him to Hawaii to fix a car. So, at age 39, he began sculpting full time.

Fitzpatrick carves ice, too, but it’s his sand works that have caught local imaginations, becoming centerpieces at festivals and corporate events. A castle he built in Revere spawned the annual New England Sand Sculpting Festival (which starts 7/14), and he’ll stir up similar excitement on Salisbury’s boardwalk on 7/4. "Everyone relates to sand sculpting on some kind of primitive level," says Fitzpatrick, who likes to point out that early humans scratched maps in the sand. "It’s an undeniable attraction."