1st Annual Master Sand Sculpting Competition Planned For November

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In November, twenty of the country’s top master sand sculptors will compete in the first annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition. The four-day event begins Thursday, November 18 and ends Sunday, November 21 with ten teams of two competing for $18,000 in prize money. Proceeds will benefit Mote Marine Laboratory's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program.

an arts-based, family-friendly, entertainment and educational community event - a master sand sculpting championship - which will draw substantial numbers of visitors to Sarasota County.

In November, twenty of the country’s top master sand sculptors will compete in the first annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition. The four-day event begins Thursday, November 18 and ends Sunday, November 21 with ten teams of two competing for $18,000 in prize money. Proceeds will benefit Mote Marine Laboratory's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program.

The Crystal Classic is a result of discussions between master sand sculptor and Siesta Key resident Brian Wigelsworth and representatives of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Jim Haberman, Executive Director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce describes the event as “an arts-based, family-friendly, entertainment and educational community event - a master sand sculpting championship - which will draw substantial numbers of visitors to Sarasota County.” The Crystal Classic will connect professional sand sculptors, the arts, the environment and the beach in ways never before seen in Sarasota, and with attendance projections of 40,000, it will make this the largest single tourism event ever offered on Siesta Key.

Sand sculptors earn the title “Master Sand Sculptor” by first winning amateur competitions, such as the one held in Siesta Key in May, and then being invited to compete at the master level. There are seventy-five master sculptors in the United States. Local sand sculptor Libby Bennett, who has won several of the amateur competitions, says that “watching the master sand sculptors create their incredible works of art, which can be up to ten feet tall, is something you have to see to believe.”
Noteworthy is the fact that Siesta Key, with its pristine crystal sand, has the ideal beach sand for sculpting. Master Sand Sculptor, Brian Wigelsworth says “these competitions are held all over the world but many times it requires bringing sand in for the event. Siesta Beach has arguably the best beach sand for sculpting in the world.” This is not just one individuals’ opinion, in fact, the Great International White Sand Challenge, held in 1987, scientifically determined the sand on Siesta Key’s beach to be “The World’s Finest, Whitest Sand,” beating out more than 30 other entrants.

Entrance to all four days of the Crystal Classic is $5 per person or $10 for a family of up to four. In addition to the master’s competition, there will be live music, hands-on sand sculpting classes hosted by Sand Lubbers Sandvertising Agency, amateur sand sculpting competition and a vendor village featuring local businesses.

Another exciting attraction, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Mote Marine Laboratory’s Mote Mobile exhibit will be on site. The Mote Mobile is a part of Mote’s outreach initiatives using a mobile aquarium display featuring an 800-gallon reef aquarium built into the side of a large truck. The mobile exhibit travels to schools, festivals and special events bringing the message of Mote to approximately 300,000 people throughout the state of Florida each year.

For more information about the Crystal Classic please visit http://www.sarasotafl.org or call 800.398.0270.
For more information about Mote Marine Laboratory visit http://www.mote.org.
Siesta Key Crystal Classic Sand Sculpting Competition
Dates:         November 18, 19, 20 & 21, 2010
Time:         9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Cost:        $5.00 per person or $10 .00 per family (all four days)
Location:            Siesta Beach
Parking:            Parking and shuttle available on Saturday and Sunday for $5 at Phillippi Estate Park.

Schedule of Events
Master Sand Sculpting Teams begin at 9:00 am each day breaking for lunch at noon for one hour. They finish at 5:00 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and noon on Sunday with winners announced at 2:00.
Thursday, November 18
9:00 – 5:00        Master Sculpting Competition (lunch break 12 – 1)
11:00 – 12:00        Sculpting lessons by Sand Lubbers
2:00 – 3:00        Sculpting lessons by Sand Lubbers
4:00 - 5:00        Sculpting lessons by Sand Lubbers

Friday, November 19
9:00 – 5:00        Master Sculpting Competition (lunch break 12 – 1)
9:00 – 5:00        Vendor Village
10:00 – 5:00        Mote Mobile
11:00 – 12:00         Sculpting lessons by Sand Lubbers
12:00 – 5:00        Live Music
2:00 – 3:00        Sculpting lessons by Sand Lubbers
4:00 – 5:00         Sculpting lessons by Sand Lubbers

Saturday, November 20
9:00 – 5:00        Master Sculpting Competition (lunch break 12 – 1)
9:00 – 5:00        Vendor Village
10:00 – 5:00        Mote Mobile
10:00 – 5:00        Live Music
11:00 – 12:00         Sculpting lessons by Sand Lubbers
2:00 – 3:00        Sculpting lessons by Sand Lubbers
4:00 – 5:00         Sculpting lessons by Sand Lubbers

Sunday, November 21
9:00 – 12:00        Master Sculpting Competition
9:00 – 1:00        Amateur Sculpting Competition
9:00 – 5:00        Vendor Village
10:00 – 5:00        Mote Mobile
10:00 – 5:00        Live Music
11:00 – 12:00         Sculpting lessons by Sand Lubbers
2:00 – 3:00        Awards ceremony
3:00 – 5:00        Q&A with sculptors

Media Contact: Donna De Poalo
Edge Marketing
941.321.7372
ddepoalo(at)mac(dot)com

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Korin Lamourt
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