Event Concludes on December 1
The 33rd annual American Sand Sculpting Championship on Fort Myers Beach continues through Sunday, December 1, at the Wyndham Garden Hotel at 6890 Estero Boulevard daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to the talented sculptors, there will be Quick Speed sand sculpting, Kid’s Zones, sand sculpting demonstrations, live music, and the Sand Vendor Village with a record number of exhibitors. The 2019 American Sand Sculpting Championship is one of the biggest of its kind, with roughly 50,000 people attending the various events.
“We crowned our Master’s Solo Winner on Sunday, November 24,” said Bill Knight, Championship co-chair with wife Marianne of “The Sand Lovers” from Fort Myers. “The incredible John Gowdy won with the striking, ‘Soul Reunion.’ Maxim Gazendam placed Second with ‘Architecture is Frozen Music’ inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, while Delayne Corbett came in 3rd with ‘Luvbug!’ Maxim took home the Sculptor’s Choice Award, while the People’s Choice is still up in the air, as you can vote on that through this weekend. We crown as well the Doubles Team and Florida State Advanced Amateur Champions on Sunday, December 1.”
One of the sculptures that Bill advises everyone to visit is the signature design piece that all of the Master sculptors worked on together as a group carving. “It is a 360-degree sculpture that is a salute to the four seasons. No one has ever done anything else like it on the entire planet and it is massive!” During the actual competitions, Bill encourages all visitors to interact with the sand sculptors: “ask questions, as they are phenomenal artists, so soak up as much as you can, plus they have fantastic personalities with great backstories.”
Most Amazing on Earth
“Even though the Solo Division is over, we still have 21 of the most amazing sand sculptors anywhere on Earth, working right here on Fort Myers Beach this week,” Bill related. “There are 5 Doubles Teams and 11 competitors in the Florida State Championship Advance Amateur Division.”
Doubles teams are Melineige & Seveline Beauregard, Jihoon Choi & Bruce Phillips, Delayne Corbett & Maxim Gazendam, John & Laura Gowdy, and Christy McDonald Atkinson & Amazin’ Walter McDonald. “Choi and Phillips are a team again,” Bill offered, “because they won the Double Competition last year and are defending their crown. We put Corbett and Gazendam together because they placed 3rd and 2nd this year in the Master Solo Division. As for the other groupings, family circumstances dictate those pairings, as Christy and Amazin’ are father-&-daughter, the Beauregards sisters, and the Gowdys husband-&-wife.”
Advance Amateur competitors are Amanda Bolduc, Lisa Fewless, Mitch Guerrero, Rich Hoover, Marc Mangia, Bob May, Darrell O’Conner, Brendan Schaffer, Shannon Summey, Paul Warren, and Mark Wilson. An Advanced Amateur is someone who placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in other sculpting contests but is not a professional. They use 1 to 3 tons of sand, with 3 to 6 hours of sculpting time, while professionals have 2 to 3 days, with roughly 9 tons of sand and 20 sculpting hours.
Sand Under The Stars
Unique to 2019 is “Sand Under The Stars” on Saturday evening, November 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. “This is the first time we are hosting this,” Bill exclaimed, “so you won’t want to miss it! We light up the sculptures, with the ‘Medley Brothers’ providing the music, and make it a big party! Admission for this special night is $10-per-person and we know everyone will have a great time.”
The one activity Bill most recommends to Sand Sculpting visitors “is the Quick Sand speed sculpting. The sculptors literally create something spectacular in 10 minutes or less, based on subjects suggested by the audience. What they accomplish in just a few minutes demonstrates their incredible talents!”
Once all competitions are underway, visitors will see roughly 50 memorable sand sculptures. “That is why we encourage everyone to come out more than once,” offered Bill. “The sculptures you watch the artists working on the first week are complete by the second, and those they start the last week complement the prior ones. Don’t let rain discourage you, because water holds the sand sculptures together and the sculptors are tough people! With sand, sun, art, and music, the American Sand Sculpting Championship will exceed all your wildest expectations!”
Sand Masterpieces Evolve
Admission is $8-per-person, with kids 4 & under free. A Family Pass for two adults and 2 children ages 5 to 12 is $25, and there are VIP Packages at $45-per-person that include a meal from Texas Tony’s Rib & Brewhouse, four complementary drink tickets, event t-shirt, and access to the exclusive Zing Patio Lounge with comfortable seating and shade.
There is free parking at the event field at Lovers Key State Park with complementary shuttle service to and from the Wyndham. Approach Lovers Key from the south if possible, to avoid Estero Boulevard construction in the center sector of the island.
Experience the talents of many of the world’s greatest sand sculptors at the 33rd annual American Sand Sculpting Championship at the Wyndham Garden Hotel through Sunday, December 1. For details, see www.FMBSandSculpting.com
“My favorite part of the American Sand Sculpting Championship,” concluded Bill, “is watching all these sand sculpting masterpieces evolve. I am so busy during the Championship, running around doing a bunch of things, and then when I have a free moment or two, I look around and suddenly see all these magnificent works of art that did not exist the day or even a few hours before, and that to me is amazing!