24 artists converge on Siesta Key to compete in an amazing Master Sand Sculpting competition. The sculptors create a large community carve, 8 solo sculptures and 8 team sculptures. On Saturday evening, enjoy the sculptures under colored lights after sunset. The timed competition is judged and the winners are revealed on Sunday afternoon. Come and vote for your favorite sculpture until Monday at 5 PM by wooden tokens (available for purchase) so you can help determine the People’s Choice award. People’s Choice Award will be announced on Tuesday, November 16, online on our website and our Facebook page.
There are other attractions at this festival: The Learning Curve – sand sculpting lessons and demonstrations are hosted multiple times daily, Fri – Sun; 4 days of live bands under the huge entertainment tent; Quick Sand – an ongoing contest of speed and skill; plus, the Amateur Competition on Saturday.
Also, the Barefoot Beach Bar Party Tent is open all 4 days with music and a full bar- no entry fee. Vendor Village surrounding Sand Village features over 81 vendors occupying 92 spaces, and 6 food trailers which are all open to the public.
Founded in 2010, the first Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition was held November 18-21, 2010.
The Crystal Classic came about as a result of discussions between master sand sculptor and Siesta Key resident Brian Wigelsworth and representatives of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The competition is modeled after other master competitions that are held yearly in Texas, Virginia, Washington and Ft. Myers, Florida. Master sculptors earn their title by competing and winning first in amateur competitions, such as the one held in Siesta Key in May, and then moving on to the Master Competitions.
The Crystal Classic is a favorite of the professional sand sculptors who have competed here. Citing the beauty and cleanliness of the pristine white sand, sculptors have remarked that their sculptures look almost as if they were “carved in marble.”
In only 24 sculpting hours, (spanning the four-day event), the master sculptors create sand masterpieces, some over ten feet tall, and transform the always beautiful Siesta Beach into an outdoor art gallery.
Organizers felt this could be an event that would have a positive, economic impact on the community with increased tourism by highlighting that sand sculpting is an art form and Siesta Key has the ideal sand for sculpting. The first year was an overwhelming success and now hosts 40,000 attendees, and generates 16,000+ hotel room nights, and over $9,000,000 in economic impact for our local community.
The festival has grown into a premier event and is presented in a collaborative partnership between the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and the Siesta Beach Festival, Inc. The mission is to promote tourism, local businesses and the visual arts via the production of one of the most unique sculpture festivals held in the world on the #1 beach in the U.S.
A portion of the proceeds will go to the Siesta Key Crystal Classic Scholarship Fund for Ringling College of Art + Design.