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Sand Bash receives permit to hold 10-day event

By Staff | Apr 18, 2012

Sand Bash, a master sand-sculpting exhibition/ wine-tasting festival slated to begin on the beachfront of the Holiday Inn this Friday (April 20) and continue through Sunday, April 29, has been given a Notice To Proceed approval by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection agency, according to DEP records dated April 4, 2012.

The festival-style family event will be held in a confined area (under two large tents) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day and will feature sculptures depicting movies from the 1930s to present day, demonstrations and lessons in sand art, amateur contests, a children’s activity area and daily wine tasting opportunities.

One tent will include everything involving sand, while the other will hold the wine festival.

“The majority of people in this area have been to a sand sculpting contest, but nobody has seen an exhibition. In a contest style, sculptors are timed. In an exhibition, you’ll notice the detail is just phenomenal,” said Bill Knight, who along with wife Marianne are putting on the event as owner/operators of Sand Lovers, a professional sand sculptures and event management company.

Until the April 4 approval, the Knights needed a more involved state permit and other approvals, conditions and authorization to call the event official.

“The permit process had merit. Now that we have gone through it, we have a better understanding of what needs to be done,” said Bill. “Ultimately, we are doing the best thing for the beaches here. It became a smooth process once everything was said and done. It was very positive working with the DEP officials.”

Now that the event has been given final authorization to proceed with a process involving a coastal construction control line permit, more than 200 tons of sand have been moved to the site awaiting to be carved out into movie sculptures, quick sand speed sculpting competitions between master sculptors, demonstrations, lessons and chain saw art.

“Each master sculptor will be assigned a year or decade to choose a movie to sculpt. They will sculpt a 20-foot section for a particular movie,” said Bill. “We are going to have a People’s Choice award where people can choose who they think did the best job. There will also be a special section for the kids that will feature Disney movies.”

For a complete listing on when all activities will take place, go to www.sandbash.com for more information.

At least 10-12 master sculptors have signed on to create masterpieces, including Beach favorite and World-Renowned Artist John Gowdy and his Flying Colors paintings on a spinning canvas.

At dusk on Friday, April 27, the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival will hold a Movie on the Beach at the site. It’s the only nighttime activity that is a collaborated venture with the Greater Fort Myers Beach Friends of the Arts.

“I was pleasantly surprised Florida DEP and Florida Wildlife Commission approved that,” said Bill.

Amatuer contest will be held Saturday, April 21, and Saturday, April 28. It is an open competition with several age categories.

“We wanted to have other sculptures for spectators to look at. These amateur contests will be a big focus for our activities. There are some pretty good amateurs out there.”

There will be free bus rides from Lover’s Key Event Parking Field to the event. Festival goers are encouraged to park n’ ride.

“Due to traffic patterns we highly recommend accessing Fort Myers Beach from the south via Bonita Beach Road,” said Bill. “A number of local businesses will have parking available around the event for a nominal fee.”

Daily entry fees include $5 per person or $18 per family of four (kids under age 5 admitted free) for access to all sand sculpting activities. Daily cost to access wine tasting tent (age 21 and over) and all sand sculpting activities is $20 per person.

Vendors will be on site, and there is no cost for retail vending shopping.