Event of the Week: Siesta Key Sand Sculpture Contest

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SARASOTA - We know Siesta Key Beach is famous for having the most beautiful sand in the country. And on Saturday morning you're invited to hit the beach and see what you can build out of that sand. And it's not just for kids; there'll be some serious competitors out there.

It's the 41st annual Siesta Key Sand Sculpture Contest

"This is a free event. It's free to attend, it's free to enter, everybody gets a prize, everybody is going to receive a medal. And the best part about it is we have cash prizes, 15 cash prizes," says Jonathan Poyner of Sarasota County Parks & Recreation.

There are several categories, starting with kids ten and under. “There is a youth category, 11 to 17, there's adult humorous, and adult miscellaneous. And then we have a judge’s choice, and we also let the people vote."

Andy Daily is a previous winner. He's famous for his mermaids and pirates, and has these tips for beginners. "Like anything else, I think it's the preparation. You've got to have the right tools. In the case of how high we go with our sculptures, we use forms and a lot of water. You can't pack it tight enough.”

He says this contest draws amateur sculptors from all over the state. Former winner and professional potter Ken Shields will be back. "I do mainly castles. I like to do straight lines…I had a sand box in my back yard in Detroit, Michigan, actually."

Some of the regulars are hoping their work there will gain them entry into the sand sculpting hierarchy. "We're all trying to get to the next level. We all want to be able to compete at the master level, like the big contests we have out here, the Crystal Classic. Those sculptors are flown from around the world to compete. It is a nice life," says Daily.

So what does it take to win?

"The ones that win they, pull at people's heart strings, they are funny, they're unique, they're challenging."

So grab your shovel and come on out to the 41st Annual Siesta Key Sand Sculpting Contest on Saturday morning. Registration is at 8:30am, competition starts at 9am and ends at 1pm. It's great fun to walk around and watch the sculptors at work, and you can vote for your favorite.