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The sculptors are coming
Sanding Ovations draws worldwide talent
Events kicks off with Meet the Masters Reception
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Photo courtesy of TREASURE ISLAND
Susanne Ruseler of The Netherlands will be among the sand sculptors for this year’s Sanding Ovations event.
TREASURE ISLAND – The annual Sanding Ovations sand sculpting competition gets under way Wednesday, Nov. 14, 7 p.m., with the Meet the Masters Reception in the Crystal Sands Ballroom at the Bilmar Beach Resort, 10650 Gulf Blvd.

The fourth annual Masters Cup Sand Sculpting Competition and Music Festival is Nov. 15-18 on the beach behind the Bilmar.

The reception gives area residents an opportunity to meet and chat with the 10 sand sculptors who will be competing in this year’s event.

Admission to the reception is $5, which includes hors d’oeuvres from Sloppy Joe’s Restaurant and a great assortment of domestic and craft beers from Great Bay Distributors.

Tickets for the reception are available at the event or in advance at the Treasure Island Parks and Recreation Department, Treasure Island City Hall, 120 108th Ave.

Sculptor Benjamin Probanza of Acapulco, Mexico, whose surreal sculpture “Fusion” took top honors in the 2010 competition, returns this year. Also back is Treasure Island’s Dan Doubleday, a Sanding Ovations first-place winner in 2009, along with two-time People’s Choice winner Lucinda “Sandy Feet” Wierenga of South Padre Island, Texas.

Rusty Croft, one of the Travel Channel’s newest personalities on the hit show “Sand Masters,” also returns for his fourth year. From Quebec, Sanding Ovations again welcomes Jonathan “Jobi” Bouchard.

Dan Belcher, the third-place winner last year, returns for his third competition and will be joined by Chris Guinto and Marianne van den Broek of Key West.

Sue McGrew, quite possibly the world’s youngest professional sand sculptor, makes her Sanding Ovations debut this year, coming from Tacoma, Wash. Another newcomer, Susanne Ruseler of Utrecht, Netherlands, brings a serious challenge for the $12,000 prize money with her detailed sculptures.

For additional information, contact the city of Treasure Island Parks and Recreation Department at 547-4575, ext. 237 or visit

Event highlights

The top four sculptures and a “people’s choice” sculpture will be awarded more than $12,000 cash prizes.

The exhibition of sand sculpting talent at the world-class level is the big appeal, supplemented by the giant sponsor sculpture created by Treasure Island’s own Meredith Corson of Sanding Ovations professional sand sculptors. The beach food court, an arts and crafts marketplace and three days of live music make Sanding Ovations a must-see event while visiting Treasure Island.

After the sun sets, the stage lights go up, as Sanding Ovations is proud to welcome the Caribbean Chillers, a Jimmy Buffett tribute band, to the stage at 8 p.m. on Friday. Opening for the Chillers at 5:45 p.m. will be Charlie Souza & the New Tropics.

Saturday, the biggest day of the event, includes fireworks on the beach at 9:30 p.m., the Masters Cup awards presentation at 7 p.m. and an all-out party starting at 2 p.m. with the swinging big band Voices of Jazz, followed by blues master Sarasota Slim at 5 p.m. and the Motown funk soul rock ‘n’ roll review of the always-fun fun Black Honkeys.

Kick back Sunday beginning at noon with WMNF’s Pete Gallagher and his Florida Folk Show, featuring Dog Peter Pat, Jim Mason & Friends and the Local Yokels. The country sound of Horses Wild wraps things up at 3:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Parking on the beach at 112th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard is available all day for $10.

For event schedules, sand sculptor biographies and other Sanding Ovations information, visit
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