The bar was raised at the second Kimbolton Sculpture Festival on Saturday with local university student Sophie Coleman's Best Wishes dandelion, and Ashburton's Stuart Mitchell's Bull Thar.
Coleman won the Creative Cocky award, and Mitchell the NZ Sculpture award.
The judges, Catherine Russ and Paul Hansen, commented that Coleman's Alice in Wonderland scale impressed along with the creative use of simple materials.
Her $2500 piece was bought by an anonymous buyer who then donated it to Kimbolton for permanent display in the north Manawatū town.
The judges said of Mitchell's Bull Thar that he'd "wonderfully captured the spirit and form with a complex integration of scrap metal elements".
Bull Thar also sold to a Palmerston North buyer.
Kimbolton Arts and Sculpture Trust chair Tony Waugh said the festival came about because he thought sculptures would add to the revitalised town. However, the cost to buy a sculpture was prohibitive and the next step was to attract works to the festival.
Waugh said 2800 paying adults attended the festival with 550 children who attended free, 300 sponsors and 100 stalls that added another 250 people to the total.
There were six categories altogether with merit and youth awards, and Room 4 Pukeko Room Kimbolton School took the Group award with their worm sculpture.