TREASURE ISLAND, FL — Approximately 250 tons of white powder sand will be transformed into works of art starting Thursday with the kick-off of the 2022 Sanding Ovations Masters Cup on Treasure Island Beach.
This year’s theme is “Once Upon a Time” and will feature storybook fantasies. Master sand sculptors from around the country will converge on Treasure Island Beach to create fantastical sand sculptures in what’s become Treasure Island’s trademark event, attracting thousands of visitors each year.
In addition to sculptures, the free, four-day event will include live entertainment with local, regional and national touring bands, a sandbox for kids to create their own sculptures, a beach food court, a beer garden, and an arts and crafts marketplace.
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Kite-flying will be provided by Windworks of Madeira Beach Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and fireworks will take place on Saturday night, Nov. 19.
Presented by Visit St. Pete/Clearwater and the city of Treasure Island, there will also be an encore weekend Nov.26 and 27 following the Thanksgiving holiday.
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According to the Sanding Ovations Impact Study by Destination Analysts, more than 42,500 people attend the popular festival, directly spending $6.3 million and generating an overall economic impact of $9.5 million.
The festival was founded by Treasure Island sand sculptors Dan Doubleday and Meredith Corson, who have more than 40 years of experience between them creating sand sculptures through their business, Sanding Ovations.
Sanding Ovations has sculpted commissioned pieces for clients such as the NFL Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, the Outback Bowl, Budweiser, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Frito Lay, SeaWorld, Disney World and Busch Gardens, to name a few.
Together, Doubleday and Corson travel the world creating sand sculptures for hundreds of clients each year. Between the two, they hold 15 World Champion medals and have won or placed in every major competition they have entered.
Their sculptures are emotional, thought-provoking and often striking in their simplicity or at the other end of the spectrum, incredibly detailed.
In addition to organizing the annual Sanding Ovations Masters Cup Competition, they also organize the annual Revere Beach National Competition held in Revere Beach, Massachusetts every July.
Sanding Ovations can be seen on the Travel Channels’ “Sand Masters,” a two-season program about the worldwide adventures of a group of America’s top sand sculptors, “Sand Blasters: The Extreme Sand Sculpting Championship” and in the documentary, “Sand Wars.” They were also featured on the “Today Show” with Al Roker when Doubleday carved a likeness of Al Roker’s head from sand.
Doubleday was discovered sculpting on a beach in Santa Cruz, California. His technique was so impressive that he was invited to enter his first master event. He went on the win his first World Championship in 1996, receiving the coveted Sculptors Choice award, the first North American to win that honor. He now holds eight World Champion medals and continues pushing the envelope with new techniques and innovative subjects.
Corson is a World Champion Gold Medalist and the first woman to win a medal at the World Championships.
Raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Corson relocated to Florida in 1980 and started sculpting sand as a hobby. She met Doubleday at a competition in 1996 and the two formed Sanding Ovations.
Some of her titles include World Champion Duos, two-time American Duo Champion, two-time North American Champion, Cervia, Italy Champion, two-time Texas Sand Fest Champion and Sand Castle Days Champion.
This year’s competitors hail from around the world.
“I started sand sculpting by chance in 1993 while studying sculpture in Dublin,” Fergus Mulvany of Ireland said. “Since then the medium and culture of sand has exploded into a worldwide phenomenon and has carried me on its ever-widening path from Europe to Australia and Asia to North America.”
A graduate of the Art Institute of Boston, “I feel blessed to make a living doing what I love,” said Deborah Barrett-Cutulle of Saugus, Massachusetts, a graduate of the Art Institute of Boston, an illustrator, muralists and sand sculptor. “I was introduced to the sand in 2005 on Revere Beach and fell in love with it. I first got my feet wet as a logo carver and just started competing in 2015. A highlight of my life is being a part of the Sanding Ovations event every November for the past seven years.”
Before stepping into the world of sand sculpting, Benoit Dutherage of France was an haute cuisine chef in some of the world’s finest hotels. By chance, he stumbled across some massive sand sculptures and completely changed professions. Over the last 20 years, he has participated in international competitions and events from Japan to Australia, Singapore and the U.S., working in not only sand but salt, ice, snow, concrete, clay, foam, wood and even pumpkins.
Sue McGrew of Tacoma, Washington, discovered her passion for sand sculpting at the age of 16 and, over the past 20 years, has perfected flowing, organic style and expressive figures at more than 85 competitions and dozens of festivals in 35 countries. She competed and won Season one of CBC’s “Race Against the Tide” with partner Abe Waterman and also starred on Travel Channel’s Reality TV show “Sand Masters.”
Mélineige Beauregard of Montreal Canada said sand sculpting is a spiritual experience. “When my hands touch the material, when my heart opens to give life, when my head is illuminated by light, I become the co-creator of the universe,” she said. “An artist is one who spiritualizes matter.” Her father is internationally renowned sculptor Guy Beauregard and, like her father, she too has achieved international success. In fact, in 2004 the father-daughter duo teamed to win the World Championship in the doubles category. Since then she has won several individual awards and, in 2016, she was Grand Champion of the World Championship of Taiwan. “For me, art is a means of communication, a way to transmit the energy of life, to affirm its vastness and its beauty,” she said.
Bruce Phillips of San Diego, California, has been involved in the art of sand sculpting for more than 25 years. He is known throughout the world, from Tokyo to Amsterdam, and has created sand sculptures in 13 countries.
For Abe Waterman of Prince Edward Island, Canada, sand sculpting is just one of the ways he peers into the absurdities of life, replicating them in a variety of mediums.
Damon Meri of Seminole entered his first sand-sculpting competition in 2012 and has been hooked since. His outside-the-box mindset has earned him many awards in the pro-am division including five first-place and four people’s choice honors, including last year’s Sanding Ovations sculpture, “Tort-O-Potty.” In addition to sculpting, Meri is an artist and street painter.
Mark Price of St. Pete Beach is the man behind the sculptures. About 10 years ago, he and his wife was sitting on the beach watching preparations for the Sanding Ovations festival. He became intrigued with the process and began volunteering. Now he does everything from building forms, running electricity and keeping the sculptors supplied with water.
Thursday, Nov. 17
Noon to 5 p.m. — DJ Dave
Friday, Nov. 18
3 to 4:30 p.m. — Sarasota Slim
5 to 6:30 p.m. — Motel Funk
7 to 9 p.m. — Kid Royal
Saturday, Nov 19
10 a.m. to noon — DJ Dave
Noon to 1:30 p.m. — St. Pete School of Rock
2 to 3:30 p.m. — Alex Whalen
4 to 5:30 p.m. — Alex Hayes Band
6 to 7:30 p.m. — Angie Ray
8 to 9:45 p.m. — Pirate Flag Band
Sunday, Nov. 20
noon to 1:30 p.m. — Chris Manings
2 to 3:30 p.m. — Dennis Wallace
4 to 6 p.m. — Speak Easy
Saturday, Nov. 26
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — DJ Dave
4 to 5:30 p.m. — Nathan Allen
6 to 7:30 p.m. — Dennis Wallace/Cornfused
8 to 9:30 p.m. — Mad Beach Band
Sunday, Nov. 27
Noon to 1:30 p.m. — Josh Fielding
2 to 3:30 p.m. — Dead Set
4 to 6 p.m. — DJ Johnny G
The best option for parking on Saturday and Sunday is the bus shuttle that costs $5 per person round-trip, with children under 10 years of old riding for free.
Visitors can park at Treasure Bay, 10315 Paradise Blvd. and payinside the Treasure Bay Clubhouse or at Paradise Lutheran Church, 10255 Paradise Blvd. (the church lot opens at 1 p.m. on Sunday). and was to the Treasure Bay Clubhouse to pay.
The shuttle runs every 15 minutes on Saturday, Nov. 19 and 26 from noon to 11 p.m .and Sunday, Nov. 20 and 27 from noon to 7 p.m.
Event parking within walking distance of Sanding Ovations:
- Treasure Island Community Center, One Park Place at 106th Avenue (metered parking)
- Treasure Island Park at the Treasure Island Community Center off 104th Avenue ($20 per day with credit or debit cards).
- Gulf Front Park, 10400 Gulf Blvd. (metered parking)
- Sandpiper Lot on Gulf Boulevard at 100th Avenue (metered parking)
- Treasure Island City Hall, 120 108th Ave. (metered parking)
- Click here for more parking alternatives.
- Friday, Nov. 18 from noon to 11 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 19 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 20 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 26 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 27 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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