Valley children who write and draw might find themselves building sandcastles with their families for an entire week at South Padre Island next summer.

For the 10th consecutive year, the online South Texas Children’s Arts Festival (formerly RGV Children’s Arts Festival) is calling for contestants.

“I’m looking for material for my ‘Kids Talk About God’ syndicated newspaper column and ‘Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John,’” arts festival chairman Carey Kinsolving said. “It’s a lot easier to get kids to answer Bible questions and illustrate them by giving them the incentive to win South Padre Island vacations for their families.”

Last April, Kinsolving walked into a classroom at Macedonian Christian School in Donna unannounced with Daniel Salazar, the manager of Isla Grand Beach Resort. Salazar announced to a very surprised Daniela Flores, 10, that she has won a week’s vacation at Isla Grand on South Padre island.

“When he said I won, I was shocked,” Flores said. “I didn’t know what to say.”

During the vacation, Jose Flores had a lot to say about his daughter’s win: “During the time that Daniela was getting ready for submitting her work, she really spent a lot of time reading the Bible, reflecting on it. Sometimes she wouldn’t know what to say or how to start, and I would say, ‘You know what? Let’s go pray, and let’s read Scripture together.’

“It gave me an opportunity to minister to her. It was a great time with her and with God’s Word. So ultimately this contest, beyond the opportunity of just giving families the chance to spend some good time at the beach, it gives us an opportunity to continue to minister to our children. It’s the most valuable thing we can do as parents, which is instilling the Word of God in their hearts, especially at that young age.”

LEFT: Chloe Salazar, 8, of Brownsville won a week-long vacation for her family at Holiday Inn Beach Resort South Padre Island. RIGHT: Daniela Flores, 10, was surprised when Daniel Salazar walked into her classroom at Macedonian Christian Academy to announce she had won a week’s vacation at Isla Grand Beach Resort, the resort he manages. (Courtesy photos)

For the second winner announcement, Kinsolving traveled to the Brownsville home of Chloe Salazar, 8, who won a week-long vacation for her family to Holiday Inn Beach Resort South Padre Island.

When Kinsolving asked Salazar if she thought she would win, she said, “Well, pretty much because I did all my hard work on this. The artwork was a fun project to do. I used all my creativity on this. And I think it turned out pretty great!”

Because of sponsors like Boggus Ford, Dr. Martin Garza of DLC Pediatrics and Melba’s Dance, there is no entry fee for the South Texas Children’s Arts Festival, organizers said. Both Holiday Inn Beach Resort South Padre Island and Isla Grand Beach Resort are offering week-long vacation in 2022 to winners and their families. Each resort will offer $600 of credit to eat at restaurants on their properties that they own.

To download entry forms with guidelines, log on to Deadline is Jan. 31, 2022.