Festival Literally Moved Mountains

Will Clearwater Beach visitors buy into the Sugar Sand Festival? How did it become so big in so little time? CVBeat caught up with event coordinator Lisa Chandler to find out.DSC_1149

CVBeat: This event seemed to come out of nowhere, but already looks like a big hit. How did you come up with the idea?

Lisa Chandler: About 8 years ago, Mark Mason with Team Sandtastic was doing a sculpture out here on Clearwater Beach and he brought back a photo book from a recent trip he made to Cape Town South Africa. At that time, I saw the photos and said one day we are going to produce this on Clearwater Beach and here we are 8 years later bringing our sugar sands to life.

CVBeat: How did you get everyone to buy into the idea of this new festival?

Lisa Chandler: We went out to most of the community businesses and groups and pitched the idea. The concept behind Frenchy’s Sugar Sand Festival is a 10-day beach-wide celebration, celebrating our No. 1 asset, which is our Clearwater Beach Sugar Sands.

CVBeat: How did you get this much sand here in such a short amount of time?

Lisa Chandler: There’s actually 1,000 tons of sugar sand and pretty much since last Thursday the bulldozers started moving the sand. On Friday, Team Sandtastic with its nine sculptors arrived and started doing what’s called a “pound up,” which there was a fire truck out here. The sand was hosed down and the sculpting officially began.

CVBeat: What would you tell visitors to convince them to pay for an event that’s about making sand castles when they can make them for free?

Lisa Chandler: That’s part of the misconception because this event is not about sand castles. This event is about sand sculptures, very artistic displays. These are world-class sand sculptors; there are no molds here. The sand sculptors do every thing free hand and at the end of the day the sand is their canvas.

CVBeat: How will you measure the success of the festival?

Lisa Chandler: The community response has already been overwhelming.  The business community, the tourism community and everybody has gotten on board. It’s a 10-day beach-wide celebration with the goal being for people to actually plan their vacations around this 10-day event.

The Frenchy’s Sugar Sand Festival is taking place on Clearwater Beach from April 19th-28th. Activities range from a sugar sand circus to a grand finale of fireworks over Pier 60. Here’s a complete schedule of events.

To return to this edition of CVBeat, click here.

About CVBeat

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is the official destination marketing organization for Pinellas County, Florida.
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