“Our company and the rest of the organizers are bringing the World Championships of Sand Sculpting to this beach in November of this year,” said Bill Knight of Sand Lubbers.
Big C Events President Jason Camp, the creator of Sand Bash, said officials from Sand Sculpture Events LLC, which runs the WCSS, asked if there was interest in partnering for the Worlds event.
“They approached us. We currently have a letter-of-intent, so there are some things we need to finalize, including the date,” said Camp. “We are focusing on the third or fourth week of November.”
Last year's Worlds was held in Federal Way, Wash. Thomas Koet won singles, Hanneke Supply and Martijn Rijerse were the tandem winners and The Machas were team champions. Team USA, with Fort Myers Beach resident and Capt. Katie Corning, finished second in the team championships.
The Sand Bash featured its own lively competition last weekend. Knight said just 10 points of a possible 549 separated the first- and third-place finishers at the sand-sculpting doubles competition.
“The S — Hands of Time” creation by Sandis Konrats and Charlie Beaulieu captured the gold medal in sand sculpting to win $4,000.
“The Fish Story” by Matt Diebert and John Gowdy won $3,000 for the silver medal, and the $2,000 bronze medal went to Joris Kivts and Bouke Atema of the Netherlands for their “Unknown Heroes.” The “Sculptor’s Choice” award and $1,000 also went to “Unknown Heroes.”
“This has been one of the best-run events I have ever seen,” said Beaulieu. “I’m very excited about the World Championships coming here in November.”
Sand-sculpting judges included Edison State College art professor Dina Kelm, Fort Myers Beach Mayor Larry Kiker, FMB Councilwoman Jo List, WINK-TV meteorologist Scott Zedeker; ABC-7 news anchor Stacey Deffenbaugh and Fort Myers Boys and Girls Club President Jim Larkin.
Camp said the Worlds competition will be an 11- to 12-day event once a schedule is finalized. He was still thrilled about the Sand Bash.
“We had phenomenal weather. For a first-year event, we had 40,000 people out here without any major traffic issues,” said Camp. “I think we brought a great event to the island. It was definitely beneficial to the community.”
Attractions included Vendor Village, the Kid’s Activity Center with games, bounce houses and water slides, a paid admission viewing area of the sand sculpting competition involving nine tMaster Sculptor doubles teams.
Master cculptor John Gowdy painted creations of thick quality photographic paper and acrylic paint and auctioned them off to benefit the Kiwanis organizations. A Bruce Springsteen creation and Statue of Liberty painting went for $850 apiece and Gowdy raised $2,700 total for charity.
Master cculptor Andy Hancock, a wood-carving specialist, showed how to sculpt sand at periodic demonstrations, courtesy of Sand Lubbers “Sandvertising Agency.”
Quick Sand competitions pitted master sculptors against each other in 10-minute competitions judged by attending festivalgoers. Kivts was declared the winner after 14 rounds.
“This ‘quick sand’ competition’ is being held for the very first time. It’s never been done anywhere else. It has been done in the world wood-carving championship with chain saws, but not with sand,” said Knight.
“The S — Hands of Time” by Sandis Konrats and Charlie Beaulieu captured the $4,000 first-place prize.
Fact BoxEditor's note: Go to cu.fortmyersbeachtalk.com/galleries for or extensive Sand Bash photos.