Sand Sculpting Championship hits the Beach Nov. 22
For those who enjoy castles made of sand, the ultimate sculptures from the powdery, grainy soil will be formed over the coming days as the American Sand Sculpting Championship takes place from Nov. 22 through Dec. 1 at the Wyndham Garden Hotel.
Some of the top sand sculptors from around the world will be in town for the competition, which is open to the public. More than 50 sand sculptors are expected.
“It’s the best of the best,” said Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce President Jacki Liszak.
Liszak said she is expecting about 50,000 people to be in town over a 10-day period beginning this weekend, with the sand sculpting championship serving as one of the main attractions to visitors.
The cost to enter the beach and view the sand sculpting behind the Wyndham Garden Hotel at 6890 Estero Blvd. will be $8 during the competition. There will be no cost for children ages 4 and under. The sand sculpting championship will be open to the public each day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Kevin Rooney, vice president of marketing and advertising for Phelan Family Brands, said “it’s the largest sand-sculpting event in the U.S..” Phelan Family Brands is helping to run the event with the chamber and “The Sand Lovers” (sand sculptors Bill and Marianne Knight).
Rooney said the solo champions will be crowned Nov. 24. After that, teams will be formed for a doubles competition. Champions will be crowned for different skill levels. Past highlights of sand sculptures have included everything from a pirate ship to a holiday menagerie with Mickey Mouse, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Sculptures can range up as high as 20 feet, Rooney said.
There will be some new charms this year, including a free event photo to those who attend.
“We’re introducing a 360-degree sand sculpture.” Rooney said.
The sculpture will have four entry points with a seasonal and holiday theme.
“It’s like art coming to life,” he said.
On Nov. 30, there will be a “Sand Under the Stars” night, with the gates reopening with a $5 admission from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to show off the sculptures brightened by colored lights.
There will also be a lounge area on the patio with food and drinks for those paying extra.
There are expected to be more than 50 vendors at the championship as well, Liszak said. The chamber will be selling advanced tickets at www.sandsculptingfmb.com. The championship is being sponsored by the Seminole Casino Hotel.
The chamber is looking for volunteers, particularly for Thanksgiving. For those interested, the chamber can be contacted at 239-454-7500.