The 2011 American Sand Sculpting Championship Festival on Fort Myers Beach appears to be moving to a more centrally located area on Estero Island this November.
Although the permits have not been secured, Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President John Albion reported the event would be held on the beachfront near the 3000 block of Estero Boulevard from Nov. 2-6.
“We are looking at moving the 25th annual event to mid-island from the Junkanoo’s/Anthony’s on the Gulf area and move north from there,” said Albion. “There will be more parking there than the south end.”
The 2011 American Sand Sculpting Championship Festival, which has been held at the Holiday Inn on the Beach in past years, heavily relied on shuttle service to transport people to the venue.
Although spaces have not been fully established, people may be able to park for the mid-island event at places such as Bay Oaks, nearby churches, FMB Art Association, Town Hall and private lots.
“We’re still going to be looking at park-n-rides,” said Albion. “We’re going to be closer to the urban core of Times Square and Old San Carlos Boulevard.”
The chamber president said the date of the event has been moved up one week to adapt to the Crystal Classic in Siesta Key. That central Florida event is being held throughout the weekend of Nov. 12-13. Fort Myers Beach will be hosting the 2011 World Championship of Sand Sculpting at the Holiday Inn during the latter part of November, according to officials from Sand Bash.
“We’re moving it up to honor our commitment to accommodate the event in Siesta Key,” said Albion. “We were locked into the same weekend, and they asked us if there was anyway possible to move our event.”
The 2011 American Sand Sculpting Championship Festival will include 16 professional Master sculptors, a street party and night activities. The event organizer is hoping more people will stick around for more of the whole festival and not go home after the sand-sculpting portion.
“We’ll be looking to have more activities off site. We weren’t able to accomplish that in the past,” he said. “We trying to get businesses of the mid-island and Times Square area more engaged and involved in the event to give people additional options and opportunities at night.”
Albion said separating the sculptor’s craft with the festival part of the championships is important for detracting reasons.
“We want to be careful to be sure whatever happens on the sand sculpting site is really based on the artists and the art, and not based on a whole bunch of different things to do on the site,” he said. “The types of sculptors we bring in deserve that level of attention.”
While plans are in the infancy stages, one can view updates on website www.sandsculptingfestival.com as the event matures.
The American Sand Sculpting Championship was a qualifier for the World Championships for the past two years, but it is not listed as one this year, according to Albion.
“Many, if not all, of our sculptors will be at the World Championships. The difference is that it gives people an earlier, more affordable opportunity to see these sculptors at work,” he said.
The event fees are expected to include $3 apiece for children and seniors; $5 for adults; and $10 for family packages.
“We’re excited. We are going to maintain that top tier of sculptors who we’ve committed to do everything we can. We’ve received a number of phone calls from vendors and people who have planned their vacations around it already. So, we know they had a really good time last year,” added Albion.
Brad Goll of Austin, Texas, works on his winning art called 'Headache' at last year’s American Sand Sculpting Championship Festival.