Florida Travel

Around Florida: It’s the season for sand sculpture contests

The annual American Sand Sculpting Championships at Fort Myers Beach is the biggest of all such competitions in Florida, and one of the largest in the world.
The annual American Sand Sculpting Championships at Fort Myers Beach is the biggest of all such competitions in Florida, and one of the largest in the world. Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau

With at least 663 miles of beaches — the total depends on how you count it — it’s not surprising that Florida is big on sand sculpting. November is a big month for sand artists to show us what they can build.

Biggest of all such competitions in Florida, and one of the world’s largest, is the annual American Sand Sculpting Championships at Fort Myers Beach Nov. 21-30. More than 80,000 spectators attend to admire the dozens of extraordinary sand sculptures created by some of the world’s top sculptors.

More than 1,000 tons of sand will be used by the Fort Myers Beach sculptors, who come from nine countries and 10 states and who include some past world champions. Their creations may be as high as two stories and exhibit extraordinary detail.

Location of the competition is the beach in front of the Wyndham Garden Hotel. Admission at the gate is $5 adults and children 5 and older, less if purchased online.

Most of these events combine the sand sculpting with other activities. At Fort Myers Beach, those activities include demonstrations, live music, more than 50 vendors, and a children’s zone where kids can create their own sculptures. Information: www.fmbsandsculpting.com.

Another annual sand event takes place Nov. 14-18 on Siesta Key. The Siesta Key Crystal Classic, in its fifth year, pits 12 teams of master sculptors in a competition. The festival also stages sculpting demonstrations, a fashion show, amateur sculpting, and has a vendor village and Margaritaville party tent. Admission starts at $6 per person. www.siestakeycrystalclassic.com.

Treasure Island on the Gulf Coast is hosting its sixth annual Sanding Ovations Competition and Music Festival Nov. 19-23, featuring 10 master sculptors. Other activities include live music, arts and crafts, a children’s zone with bounce houses, and about 75 vendors. Admission is free. Location is behind the Bilmar Beach Resort. www.mytreasureisland.org/visitors/events.php.

New this year in Key West is its first International Sand Art competition. Starting Nov. 26, six sculptors will create sand masterpieces during the event, which is part of the Art Key West festival Nov. 26-30. Location is behind the Casa Marina Resort. Day and evening viewing is free. www.sandartkeywest.com.

Some sand sculpting events in Florida are held at other times of the year, including Lake Worth in January, Fort Myers Beach in April, Pensacola and Siesta Key in May and Pompano Beach in June. For information on these and other sand events, go to www.sandsculptingevents.com.


▪ Pavement art: Stunning creations of sidewalk art are created with chalk in the Sarasota Chalk Festival, which will be held Nov. 14-17. This year’s festival will showcase the works of 300 artists working on the theme “Extinct and Endangered Species.” The festival is trying this year to set a Guinness record for the world’s largest 3-D pavement art, and work already has started on that project, which will show a prehistoric shark and giant squid. Previously staged in Sarasota, the festival has been moved to nearby Venice (also in Sarasota County) this year. www.chalkfestival.org.

▪ Turkey hunting: With Thanksgiving only weeks away, for Florida hunters come thoughts of bagging a turkey for their holiday dinner. State regulations divide the state into four zones for fall season turkey hunting (of gobblers and bearded only). The general gun season for fall turkey hunting will be from Nov. 22-Jan. 4 for Zone A (southeast Florida), Dec. 6-Feb. 1 for Zone B (central west), Nov. 1-Dec. 28 for Zone C (north and central east), and Nov. 27-30 and Dec. 13-Jan. 18 for Zone D (west Panhandle). Daily and season bag limit is two. Hunting zones and rules: www.myfwc.com/hunting.