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This was our first time visiting the American Sand Sculpting Championship, and it won’t be our last. The craftsmanship, thoughtfulness, and detail put into these works of art were astounding. There were more than 45 sand masterpieces to view, created by Master Sculptors, Advanced Amateurs, and Amateur Sculptors.

One of the largest events of its kind in the world, this year’s contest included sculptors from 8 different countries and 10 different U.S. states. Collectively, the group held more than 500 competition medals. Many of the sculptors are World Champions.

Surprisingly, sand is often brought in for these contests—-not for Ft Myers, though. The soft, fine texture of Ft Myers’ sand, combined with its moisture content, makes it perfect for packing. In fact, Florida’s natural resources are considered to be among the best in the world for this craft. Other contests that use their own sand are Siesta Key and Navarre Beach, both of which are in FL, and South Padre Island and Port Aransas, TX, according to The Sand Lovers.com http://thesandlovers.com/sandarticle/#.

According to The Sand Lovers.com http://thesandlovers.com/sandarticle/# master/professional sculptors have 10+ years of experience and often, this is their livelihood. There are approximately 50 sand sculptors at this level in the U.S. The beauty of the finished product masks the tough, back-breaking process. that is involved in their creations, however. The Sand Lovers.com reports that creating a 10+ foot sand sculpture requires the sculptor to move a minimum of 10 tons of sand with a shovel. They pack the sand into forms, layering it by mixing it with water, and tamp it with a 25-lb tamper every 4-to-6 inches. Not enough of a challenge? Sculptors have to get used to the different types of sand that comes with each location and competition…

An Advanced Amateur must have placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in several competitions, but cannot be a professional sand sculptor. What few competitions there are at this level are by invitation only. At the advanced level, the sculptor typically works with 9 tons of sand over about 20 hours of sculpting time. By contrast, an amateur’s job is to work with 1-to-3 tons of sand during a 3-to-6-hour period.

Breathtaking sand sculptures and perfect weather—-a great recipe for a fun and inspiring afternoon. I highly recommend going to at least one sand sculpting contest. For more information on these competitions, please see, “The Ultimate List of Sand Sculpting Competitions in the United States,” at http://thesandlovers.com/sandarticle/# Many thanks to this source for such interesting and comprehensive information.

Until next time,