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Date of Issue: November 22, 2007

SandTastic week: SandBlast features fundraising, friendly competition

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Before the contest, Team SandTastic's Larry Hudson, Steve Schomaker, Pat Harsh, Vic Ferrari and Mark Mason build "Robot Christmas" alongside the BeachHouse Restaurant. The effort takes three days.
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Bradenton Christian School's art department sculptors took home a first-place trophy for their Thanksgiving-themed entry.
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The Anna Maria Island Brownie team works to create a giant sea turtle. The Brownies won the Future Sand Sculptors of America award.
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Members of the Anna Maria Island Brownie Troop 316 and troop leader Laurie Higgins use a snowball-making technique to make sea turtle eggs for their SandBlast sculpture. Islander Photos: Lisa Neff
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Manatee High School/Anna Maria Islanders get to work early in the competition presented by Keep Manatee Beautiful.
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Reef Rakers and Sarasota Bay Buddies work on their SandBlast 2007 sculpture.

The sand sculpting on the beach last week for SandBlast 2007 caused some to reflect upon great works.

Builder Paul Frasier of Longboat Key thought of the French Rococo sculptors and their marble pieces.

Teacher Joyce Kramer of Bradenton thought of poetry and William Blake: "To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower/Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour."

Ten-year-old Chris Makepiece thought about the Corn Palace - built with 250,000 ears of corn - in Mitchell, S.D. "We saw it on a vacation, not last year, but the year before. It was really cool, like this," Chris said, referring to the SandBlast work. "But made out of corn instead of sand."

Team SandTastic's professional sculptors, the BeachHouse Restaurant and Keep Manatee Beautiful partner to present SandBlast. The event - three days of lessons in sculpting sand, the construction of a massive "Robot Christmas" by professional artists and a Nov. 17 competition on the beach - boosts the profile and the finances of KMB.

KMB, a chapter of Keep America Beautiful, coordinates cleanup and beautification programs in Manatee County.

KMB's current major project is the renourishment of the beaches along the Palma Sola Causeway. The effort began with the hauling of sand to the BeachHouse for SandBlast, some of which will later be trucked to the causeway. The work will continue in the next several weeks with the hauling of 8,000 cubic tons of dredged Gulf Intracoastal Waterway sand from a storage site at Coquina Beach to Palma Sola.

The sand, according to KMB executive director Ingrid McClellan, will help shore up the beaches for the planting of hundreds of trees, as well as ground plants.

SandBlast began in Bradenton Beach along the city's state-designated scenic highway Nov. 14, with Team SandTastic's experts conducting a sand-sculpting clinic.

Clinics also were conducted on Nov. 15 and Nov. 16, as work took place on SandTastic's tribute to the holiday season.

Melissa Conner, passing by on Nov. 14, marveled at the size of the sculpture.

"I have never in my life seen anything like it," she said. "It's absolutely beautiful."

Josh Taylor, 4, stood at the edge of the sculpture, watching the pros work. "I like to play in the sand, too," he observed.

Then, on Nov. 17, 20 teams competed to build the best sand sculpture on the beach. The groups, consisting mostly of children, built sculptures along three themes - patriotic, native Florida and holiday.

Participants, supported by sponsors that paid $300 entry fees, included Ad-Vance Personnel Services; Anna Maria Island Brownie Troop 316; Bayshore High School National Art Honor Society; Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County; Braden River High School; Bradenton Christian School; city of Palmetto; Manatee High School Anna Maria Islander; King Middle School Environmental Club; Manatee Community College EARTH Club; Manatee High School Anchor Club; Manatee High School Ocean Awareness Club; ManaTEENS; Palmetto High School; Peace Lutheran School; Phi Theta Kappa/MCC Bradenton Honor Society; Reef Rakers & Sarasota Bay Buddies; Anna Maria Island Privateers; Southeast High School Key Club and Student Government Association; Sugg Middle School Jr. Honor Society; Surfrider Sun Coast Chapter and USF InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Judges included a representative from the BeachHouse, pro sand-sculptor Larry Hudson and artist David Miller and his wife, Nancy.

 

And the winners are...

SandBlast 2007 took place Nov. 17 on the beach near the BeachHouse Restaurant, which sponsored the event.

Numerous teams took home prizes - trophies and SandBlast 2007 medallions - in the Keep Manatee Beautiful fundraiser.

Medallion winners included Ad-Vance Personnel Services; Anna Maria Island Privateers; Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County; Braden River High School; city of Palmetto; Anna Maria Island Brownie Troop 316; Manatee High School Ocean Awareness Club; Manatee High School Anna Maria Islanders; Manatee Community College EARTH Club; ManaTEENS; Peace Lutheran School; Phi Theta Kappa/MCC Bradenton Honor Society; Reef Rakers & Sarasota Bay Buddies; Southeast High School Key Club and Student Government Association; Sugg Middle School Jr. Honor Society; and Surfrider Sun Coast Chapter.

Trophies were presented to:

  • Patriotic theme, first-place trophy: USF InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.
  • Florida native theme, runner-up trophy: King Middle School Environmental Club.
  • Florida native theme, first-place trophy: Bayshore High School National Art Honor Society.
  • Holiday theme, runner-up trophy: Manatee High School Anchor Club.
  • Holiday theme, first-place trophy: Bradenton Christian School.

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