Sunset at Sugar Sand Festival

A Very Florida Art

Through April 23
Clearwater Beach
Details here

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Developmental changes are difficult to detect when we bear witness to them in our daily grind. “Oh how they’ve grown!” your distant relatives or occasional friends may say. Sometimes we forget to pause, reflect, and marvel at how much has changed over the course of time.

What is true for children is the same for the cities where we reside. In the course of half a decade, Clearwater Beach is not only taller with towering hotels, but has filled out with more beachgoers and Pier 60 funfare.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the sand. Did you know that the sand on Clearwater Beach is one of the purest and whitest sands anywhere in the state of Florida? Made primarily of quartz crystal with barely any shells or coral gives it its color and “sugar” like feel.

This week my family and I decided to enjoy the steadfast sand of Clearwater Beach at the Sugar Sand Festival. We drove over the causeway towards a semi-cloudy horizon, found parking and made our way to the massive tent.

The first sculptures the children noticed were the engines outside. “WOW! That’s amazing!” commented William. “How do they get fire to come out of the sand?” Meanwhile Madeline was busy filling her pockets.

This year’s theme – “A Blast From The Past.” One thousand tons of Clearwater Beach sand was shaped by world-renowned sand artists as they took us on a nostalgic time travel through the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. We were immediately amazed by the intricacy and delicate details of the massive sand sculptures.

We danced through the decades to music and color-changing mood lights. William’s favorite sculpture was the Nintendo control although we laughed at how similar he looked to the Home Alone actor.

Madeline was in love with the moon. She kept going back and asking me to make videos of her pretending to be an astronaut. We also recognized the Luck Dragon from The NeverEnding Story.

Many of the sculptures stirred memories for me and my husband, and even though the trip down memory lane was just out of reach for the kids (especially the youngest Thomas) they still had a blast. As we were walking through the exhibit, all three were on the floor making sand angels and pouring the silky smooth white sand through their fingers.

At the end of the exhibit was a Master Sand Sculpture Competition where attendees could vote for their favorite sculpture. All proceeds collected will be donated to elementary schools in Clearwater to support the arts. I was fond of the lion.

We finished our adventure at Sugar Sand Festival by making our own sand sculptures as we bid the sun farewell and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

I encourage all families, young’uns and elders, to walk through the tent down memory lane and enjoy the sensational sand sculptures of the The Sugar Sand Festival on view through April 23.
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Originally published in the Bahia Studios Blog

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