A festival-style family event with non-qualifying doubles sand sculpting competition, music and children's activities is getting closer to fruition at the Holiday Inn on the south end of Estero Island at 6890 Estero Boulevard from March 31 through April 3.
The music line-up for "Sand Bash" has been scheduled and the sand sculpting teams are ready for the action-packed event.
Big C Events President Jason Camp is partnered with Pincher's Crab Shack Operating Director Grant Phelan (also Big C Events' chief operating officer), Holiday Inn Owner John Callis, Bonnie Roberts Events' Bonnie Roberts, Sand Lubbers' Bill Knight and Brian Wigelsworth and at least two Kiwanis organizations (Beach Kiwanis included) to form a formidable combination of event management/ marketing and advertising; food and beverage; venue; vendors; sand management/ sand artist relationship; and volunteers.
Camp has been busy getting the word out as well as marketing the sand-sculpting event.
"It's been awesome," he said. "We are getting calls left and right from vendors. The extended weather forecast calls for great weather. Everything is coming together. We will building on the sand and start getting's things together a week from Friday."
Sand Bash will feature nine tandem teams comprised of some of the world's best Master Sculptors and 10 sand sculptures in all. According to its website (www.sandbash.com), the average carving will be more than two-stories tall with 400 square feet at its base. Camp said there is a $10,000 purse for the sand sculpting part of Sand Bash.
The Master Sculptor teams are Fred Mallet of Port Aransas, Texas and Sean Fitzpatrick of Boston, Mass.; Matt Deibert of Smithville, N.J. and John Gowdy of Italy; Greg Grady of Hampton Beach, N.H. and Steve Topazio of Tiverton, R.I.; Christy MacDonald of South Padre Island, Texas and "Amazing" Walter MacDonald of South Padre Island, Texas; Carl Jara of Cleveland, Ohio and Suzanne Altamare of Daytona Beach; Bill Dow of Billings, Mont. and Jeff Strong of Tacoma, Wash.; Sandis Konrats of Latvia and Charlie Beaulieu of Kingston, Wash.; Joris Kivts of the Netherlands and Bouke Atema of the Netherlands; and Rob Toby of Orlando and Guy-Olivier Deveau of Canada. Non-competing Master Sculptors include Bill Knight of Fort Myers; Brian Wigelsworth of Siesta Key; Andy Hancock of South Padre Island, Texas; and
Ky Terrell of Galveston, Texas.
There was some concern among the Fort Myers Beach Council members about holding an event in the heart of tourist season due to traffic reasons. Camp said free shuttles from Lover's Key will help in that regard, but he is pushing for an island community event.
"We have twice as many shuttles as other events with the same scope in the past," he said. "We'd rather invest in a quality experience and make sure everybody who is coming out to the event is not restricted by delays. We also have auxiliary parking at the corner of U.S. 41 and Bonita Beach Road where people can hop onto the Lee County Tran and head to the Holiday Inn.
"Eighty percent of our marketing advertising focus is to the Beach itself. There are plenty of people here during that time to make it a successful event. We are really concentrating on the foot traffic, people who can bike there and take the Beach trolley."
Camp said there will be action on site from the previous Saturday through the day before the actual festival. Admission ($8 per day for adult/ free for children under age 5/ $5 for age 5-17/ $5 for seniors over age 55) will be charged from Thursday, March 31 through Sunday, April 3.
"We'll also have four-day passes for adults ($20) and kids and seniors ($15)," said Camp. "We want to give people something fun to do with live music all day long and masterpieces for them to view and a lot of kids' activities. The hotels are sold out and the condos are packed."
Besides all-day musical entertainment and a large children's activity area, the event is expected to feature demonstrations, evening "quick sand" (10-minute creation) competitions and exhibit sculptures (finished pieces as well as works in progress) to entice those who would like to see a finished product.
FMB Chamber President John Albion gave Sand Bash his blessing before the town approved the permitting.
"Anything that will be good for the business community as a whole on the island, certainly is important during these difficult times. It's going to be good for the community at large," he said.
Proceeds from the event goes to the Kiwanis organizations, which will act as the main volunteers for the event. Go to www.sandbash.com for more information.
Sand Bash 2011 Music line up
n Thursday March 31
9-11am Oldies / Beach DJ "Justin Case"
11am-2pm - Steel Band "Jay Roberts"
2-4pm - DJ Music / Announcements / Demos
4-6pm - Beach DJ "Gentry Thomas"
6-9pm "Yaad Music" Reggae
9pm - Closing Announcements / DJ Music
n Friday April 1
10am-1pm - "Yaad Music"
2-5pm "Acoustic Addiction"
6-9pm - "Deb and the Dynamics"
9pm - Closing Announcements / DJ Music
n Saturday April 2
noon-1pm Oldies / Beach DJ
1-3pm - "The Cracker Blues Band"
3pm- DJ Music / Announcements / Demos
3-6pm "Paul Gecko"
6-9pm The Land Sharks
n Sunday April 3
9-11am Sublime DJ "Deron Harris"
11am-1pm "Mike Imbasciani"
2-5pm "The Dazzling Delray's"
5-6pm - Announcements / DJ Music
6-7pm DJ music
9p - Closing