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Pair of sandsculpting competitions come to Fort Myers Beach

By Staff | Oct 29, 2011

Special to The Breeze


There will be two distinct sand sculpting festivals on Fort Myers Beach come November.

The Fort Myers Beach Chamber-sponsored 25th annual American Sandsculpting Competition and Beach Festival will be on the SunStream Properties of GullWing and Pointe Estero resorts from Nov. 2-6.

The 25th annual World Championship of Sand Sculpting will be held at the Holiday Inn on the Beach from Nov. 17 through 27.

Event highlights include:

American Sand Sculpting Competition

The 25th Annual American Sand Sculpting Competition and Beach Festival will be from Nov. 2-6.

The competition will partner this year with GullWing and Pointe Estero, two of SunStream Properties luxurious locations. The event will now be on these two properties, allowing for all the sculptors to display their memorable works of art in a single location.

This year’s championship will feature 16 sculptors with more than 35 combined championships titles. The competition days will begin Friday, Nov. 4, and end Sunday, Nov. 6. Galleries will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., while ticket sales will be from 9 to 5.

“This is the original sand sculpting competition that is done to show how magical our sand can become,” said Event Chairman Andrew Cochrane. “We have been recognized as a top-20 event for the entire southeastern United States by the Southeast Tourism Society, and we are a regular on the state tourism videos because of the great sculptors we continue to attract.”

The event, organized by the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce, will feature world-class sand sculptors, food, music and fun for the whole family.

“This year, for the first time, we will be featuring sculptors from three continents and six countries, which I expect will astound all of us,” said Cochrane. “We are all excited about our new partnership with Sunstream Properties to take this event to a whole new level.”

Here are a few things you can look forward to at this year’s festival:

* Free Parking: Event parking is provided free at Lover’s Key State Park. A free shuttle bus will transport attendees to and from the event entrance. Parking at the event site will be extremely limited and does cost money so everyone is encouraged to use the complimentary parking at Lover’s Key. To avoid congestion and traffic, it is highly recommended that traveling to Lover’s Key be from the south via Bonita Beach Road.

*World-Champion Sculptors: This year’s festival will feature 16 sand sculptors who compete on a national level. Among all the sculptors, they have been recognized with over 35 championship titles. The fee to enter the gallery is $5 for adults and $3 for children. A family rate of $10 covers up to two adults with children. All proceeds go to the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization.

* Sand 101: This educational area of the festival features professional sculptors teaching the secrets of building great sand castles. Children can participate in demonstrations and try their new skills right there next to the pros.

* Party on the Pavement: This year, the event begins the moment you step off the shuttle! GullWing Beach Resort will be the main entrance to the event and will feature food and beverage outlets, vendors, music and games for children right in the parking lot. There is no fee to enter the event and walk around, however, there is a nominal fee to enter the sand sculpture gallery to see the sculptures up close.

* Sand Vendor Village: The village will showcase a variety of vendors that feature everything from art and jewelry to novelties such as funnel cakes and ice cream. In addition, there will be photo opportunities, children’s activities and the best in local food and beverage vendors!

* Amateur Competition: Try your hand with a team to see what magic you can make out of the sand. This fun opportunity will take place on Sunday, Nov. 6. The winners will be recognized and announced at the same awards ceremony as the professional competition.

For more information and a complete list of sculptors, visit the event website at www.sandsculptingfestival.com, visit us on Facebook at facebook.com/sandsculptingfestival, or call the Chamber of Commerce at 454-7500.

World Championships

of Sand Sculpting

For 10 days master sand sculptors will hit Fort Myers Beach for the 25th Annual World Championship of Sand Sculpting at the Holiday Inn at 6890 Estero Blvd. Attendees are encouraged to arrive from the south to avoid traffic congestion. Literally a world-class event, the championships have never been held in Florida before.

A world championship winner 12 times over and holder of seven Guinness Book of World Records, Charlie Beaulieu is the event director with Bill Knight of SandLubbers acting as the co-director. Along with Jason Camp of Big C Events, these officials are hosting the event at the south end of the beach.

This year, tourists and residents alike will have the rare opportunity to see a collection of the world’s very best sand sculptors create amazing sand sculptures over the course of four days. Participating sculptors had to qualify and be invited to attend this prestigious event and represent 15 nations from around the world. The judges also are an international mix of experts.

The sculptors will build their entries and compete from Nov. 17-20. After that, winners will be announced. From the 21st until the 27th remaining sculptors will be on-site to create additional exhibition art, participate in Quick Sand competitions, answer questions about their masterpieces and interact with the attendees.

There will be many interactive activities for guests to partake in including:

* Watching world-renowned sand sculptor John Gowdy create a painting on a spinning canvas to music known as Flying Colors

n Kids activities area with bounce houses, water slides and more

* Chain saw art demonstrations

* Sand sculpting demonstrations where attendees will learn how the Masters create their works of art

* Interactive photo opp sculptures – holiday-themed, attendees can step inside and have their photo taken for use holiday cards, etc.

* Amateur Sand Sculpting Contest, all ages welcome

* Live music

The masters will also compete in “Quick Sand” speed sculpting competitions to create works-of-art from a pile of sand in just 10 minutes.

Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for children age 5 to 17 years old and any child age 4 and under is admitted free. Guests are encouraged to purchase discounted tickets in advance at any Pinchers Crab Shack location for just $5 or at the Holiday Inn. For more information, please visit www.worldchampionshipofsandsculpting.com

Event directors have coordinated a revolving bus system to transport attendees from the Lover’s Key parking area to the site. Parking is also available in the Publix shopping center at Bonita Beach Road and U.S. 41 where the Lee County beach trolley will pick up attendees.