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Sugar Sand Festival
Annual celebration returns to Clearwater Beach
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The city of Clearwater will present its famed Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival, running April 4-13, on the beach just south of Pier 60.
CLEARWATER – The city of Clearwater will present its famed Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival, running April 4-13, on Clearwater Beach just south of Pier 60.

Sponsored by Sunsets at Pier 60, the site of Clearwater’s daily celebration of picture perfect sunsets, the 10-day celebration will feature 1,000 tons of Clearwater Beach’s sugar white sands creatively carved into imaginative scenes by a variety of sand sculptors.

Admission will be $8 for adults, $4 for students 6 to 17 years old, and $5 for seniors 55 and older, military, police and firefighters. Children age 5 and younger will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.

This year’s ticket cost will include entrance into the Sugar Sand Walk Exhibit and a commemorative 8-inch-by-10-inch souvenir photo for each guest. The event will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For information, visit www.S­ugarS­andFe­stiva­l.com.

An addition to the city’s annual Fun ’n’ Sun Festival of music concerts and other family-friendly entertainment, the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival is an unique sand sculpting exhibit and interactive experience. For this year’s festival, organizers selected Beach Walk of Fame as a central theme. Participating artists will depict favorite scenes from classic Hollywood films. The sculpted areas inside the Sugar Sand Walk Exhibit will feature iconic movie characters and scenes. In conjunction with the festival, the Sunset Cinema will expand screenings from its normal weekend hours and play iconic movies like “Jaws,” “Harry Potter” and “Back to the Future” for 10 nights.

The festival also will feature a wealth of free activities on Clearwater Beach including the Master Sand Sculpting Competition, sand sculpting clinics, Clearwater Gas System speed sand demonstrations, CCM Photobooks Paparazzi Photo Opp, Bright House Blast Fireworks, the Camp Hyatt Sand Box children’s play area, and a Beach Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 13, at 2 p.m.

New to the festival this year will be the Frenchy’s Sand Bar, where beer and wine will be available for sale daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Also new to the festival will be the Baystar Restaurants’ Sugar Sand VIP dining experience with limited availability.

Participating sculptors

Based in Sarasota, Team Sandastic will once again craft the artistic walk-through display in a 15,000-square-foot tent.

According to the event website, Team Sandtastic creates some of the finest quality sand sculptures worldwide. Sculptors and associates from the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom have created some singularly unique sculptures throughout the years for engagement proposals, weddings, and special events. Malls, conventions, fairs, festivals, and theme parks have been their staple clients.

The team uses only sand and water with no cement or fixatives added. Tools utilized in the carving process include margin trowels, spreaders, cake decorator spatulas, and dental instruments for, intricate detailed areas.

Mark Mason returns to the festival this year, bringing more than three decades of experience with him.

Mason started sculpting sand 31 years ago, competing in the Sand-Blast, a sand sculpture contest in Fort Lauderdale. Sand sculpture became his primary occupation 22 years ago. Since then, he has led his artistic team to competitions in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, the United States and throughout the Caribbean.

Clearwater resident Patrick Harsch joins this year’s sand sculptors. Harsch has been involved in sculpting sand for more than 17 years. He got his start with Team Sandtastic, working on an installation for Disney. More recently, Harsch has been exhibiting creations at the Florida State Fair.

Another Pinellas resident, Dean Arscott, is new to the festival this year.

Arscott was born and raised in central Maryland. He graduated from Ringling College of Art & Design in 2008, and now resides in Gulfport. He works on a wide variety of illustration and design projects in addition to carving with Team Sandtastic.

Other members of Team Sandtastic include Dan Belcher, Stephen Schomaker and Raymond Wirick.

Festival highlights

A grand opening event will kick off this year’s Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival on Friday, April 4, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visitors will get a first glimpse at the Sugar Sand Walk Exhibit and can participate in activities such as a sand sculpting clinic. Local artisans, crafters and street performers will be on hand and the Camp Hyatt Sand Box children’s area will be open from 10 a.m. to sunset.

At approximately 8 p.m., “The Little Mermaid,” the Sunset Cinema’s feature movie, will be shown.

Sunset Cinema screenings will continue nightly for the duration of the festival. Schedule movies include “Fast and Furious 6” on Saturday, April 5; “Dolphin Tale” on Sunday, April 6; “Jurassic Park” on Monday, April 7; “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2” on Tuesday, April 8; “E.T.” on Wednesday, April 9; “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” on Thursday, April 10; “Finding Nemo” on Friday, April 11; “Back to the Future” on Saturday, April 12; and “Jaws” on Sunday, April 13.

The Master Sand Sculpting Competition will run Thursday through Saturday. Hours will be Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The awards ceremony will take place Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Bright House Networks will present Sand Blast Fireworks, on Saturday, April 12, 9 p.m.

The Beach Egg Hunt will take place Sunday, April 13, at 2 p.m.

Volunteer opportunities

Volunteers are still needed for the second annual Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival.

Volunteers will receive a meal ticket to use at Pier 60 Concessions and a 2014 Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival T-shirt. Volunteers may also enjoy free admission to the festival exhibit tent before and after each shift. Free parking and shuttle service will be provided to volunteers.

To volunteer for this event, visit mycle­arwat­er.co­m/par­ksvol­untee­r. For questions about volunteering, call Krystie Epperson at 562-4803. For more information about the event, visit Sugar­SandF­estiv­al.co­m.
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