Fort Myers Beach has been the host for the annual sand sculpting contest for many years. As of 2011 we will now host two national level contests. How cool is that !?!?
Sand sculpting is a unique combination of artistry and hard work, sun and wind, sand and Elmers’ Glue! That’s right Elmers’ Glue – more on that in a minute. Attendance for these events is approximately 40-60,000.
The sand on Fort Myers Beach is rated by the sculptors as some of the best in the world. While some contests must truck in the correct type of sand we simply scrape our beach sand into piles. The piles of sand are located in front of the Holiday Inn. Each contestant is allowed to work on their pile during carefully scheduled work sessions over several days.
The first session is called a “ pound up “ and requires the sculptor to shovel several inches of sand into a wooden form. They must work without any help. The sculptor then pours buckets of water into the form and “ pounds “ the mud with a 15 ld tamper to pack the sand tightly into the form. This back breaking method is repeated every several inches until the form/forms reach 8 – 15 feet in height ! Remember, no help is allowed during the shoveling, carrying buckets of water or pounding phase. Each layer is done entirely by the contestant. Men and women compete equally here !
After the pound-up is completed the contestants remove the top form to reveal the packed sand. If the pound-up was not properly done the sand will simply lose its’ shape and fall back down ! This means the contestant must start all over and hope for a better result. As each wooden form is removed the sculptor begins shaping the image or vision he has for this event theme.
The sculptor uses a variety of tools to carve and shape the sand into ever finer lines. Some strive to attain a delicate look with many detailed lines and shapes. Others want a more bold look and may end up being 10 – 15 ft high. When just the right look is achieved the artist sprays the sand with a mixture of water and Elmers’ Glue ! Yes, the same Elmers’ Glue we used as kids making school projects. This spray mixture is like a glaze covering the sand. It doesn’t provide much strength but does prevent the sun and wind from drying out the sand. Dry sand simply falls apart . Not good ! Not fun !
Most events are divided into several categories: Masters, state level competitors, Beginner, Group Fun, etc. The Masters/Pro division compete for prestige and to qualify for the national or international events. Prize money may be in the thousands – prestige may mean corporate contracts and travel.
The next sand sculpting event is the “ Sand Bash – World Sand Sculpting Championship “ and is tentatively scheduled for the 3rd week of November, 2011 and will run for 11 days. Bring your camera !
I wasn’t born on Fort Myers Beach but I got here as soon as I could!!! Buying or selling – put a tough negotiator to work for you. Hard work, long hours, no surprises! Bill GillhespyCentury 21 Tripower Realty
Office: 239 699-7128
Principal office: 2001 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931