Every November in southwest Florida, the town of Ft. Myers Beach (which is also an island) holds a sandsculpting festival, www.sandsculptingfestival.com . This year there are 17 “Master Sand Sculptors” who come from Texas, California, Canada, the Carolinas St. Louis and even Eastern Europe to compete for the title and the chance to compete in the world championship sand sculpting contest. Piles of sand are created on Wednesday with Thursday being the first day that the sculptors can begin their work. All work must cease on Sunday at noon for the judging and people’s choice voting.
These kinds of events are held on beaches all over the US and Canada that offer fine, sugar white sand suitable for creating the scupltures. You may have seen the sculpting or many of these sculptors on the Travel Channel’s sand blasting show. The resulting works of art are intricate and often magical but the real treat for me is watching the process and the characters. Slowly, the mounds of sand become finely carved masterpieces over the course of 3 days. Starting with the very top and working down to the ground level, the skyline is formed. While working, the artists banter with us gawkers. Some will share the plan for their work and others make us guess… or maybe there really is no plan. It is all fun and down to business at the same time. I think this festival is just a good excuse to plan an early November visit to the beach, enjoy the humidity-free 80 degree days, the sunshine, dolphins and blackened grouper sandwiches.
If you want to follow along, stay tuned for emerging sand skyline photos in the next few days.
Most of the sculptors use wood forms and pack sand and water down to make a solid base. The forms are stacked like a Christmas tree so that the artist has something to stand on while carving from the top down.