The Siesta Key Master Sand Sculpture Contest is both an International and Professional level sculpting competition held each November on Siesta Key Beach. Only about 20 - 25 sculptors compete each year for the grand prize.
This competition among "sand artists," held every November, is a professional level competition with Thousands of Dollars in prize money.
And to "qualify" for entry into this competition the sculptors must already have won an international contest.
Yes, these professionals are serious about the Siesta Key Master Sand Sculpture Contest and most even earn their livings this way!
(btw: The Siesta Key Master Sand Sculpture Contest is not to be confused with the Siesta Sand Sculpture Contest held every year in May. The one in May is for public participation; anyone can participate.)
The inaugural competition was held in November, 2010 on Siesta Key Beach in a fenced off area south of the concession pavilion.
The gorgeous sunlit skies and the nearby sparkling crystal blue Gulf of Mexico combine to make for a beautiful backdrop to the artful event and competition.
This time of year the weather usually proves perfect for the 4 day event with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees.
A little history: In the first of its kind event on Siesta Key Beach, ten pairs of the top master sculptors from around the country and the world were competing for the top money prize of $9,000!
Making this truly an international competition, sculptors have come from as far away as Latvia and Italy, New York, California, South Padre Island, Texas, Vancouver, Washington and elsewhere to as nearby as Ft. Myers and Orlando, Florida.
A little insight into sand sculpting: While the white, baby powder fine sand of Siesta Key Beach, just off mainland Sarasota, Florida, is wonderful to walk on, lay out on and play in, it does present its own unique challenge for the artists participating in the Siesta Key Master Sand Sculpture Contest.
For one thing, “our” Siesta Key Beach sand is more difficult to sculpt because of, according to the sculptors, “the cleanliness and lack of silt and other binders in the sand.” What that means is that the sand blows away easily. The Siesta Key Beach white sand is made of 99% quartz crystal which is why the sand is so “baby powder” fine.
So, to aid in their sculpting work and to keep the sand from blowing away as the sculptures are being created, the artists spray a mixture of Elmer’s glue and water onto their carvings as they progress along with their work. This process successfully keeps the wind from blowing away the powdery fine sand.
For spectators: The master sand sculptures will be visible along the beach, but for close up viewing of artists at work wrist bands will be available for purchase. The proceeds go to benefit the Mote Marine Laboratory Sea Turtle Conservation and Research program.
Other events connected to the competition will take place, as well: The Learning Curve - sand sculpting lessons and demonstrations are hosted multiple times daily, Fri - Sun; 4 days of live bands, full bar and no entry fee. The Vendor Village surrounding Sand Village features over 70 retail vendors and 6 food trailers which are all open to the public.
The best thing you can do at an event such as this is RELAX! Relax in the open air right on the beach. All in all, this is one relaxing event to attend. Stay, enjoy the weather and the sculpting and gawk and stroll as long as you like. I did!
In an attempt to ease parking at Siesta Beach event organizers suggest you park off site at either of two locations and use public transportation such as Sarasota County Area Transportation buses to shuttle you to Siesta Beach.
The free Siesta Key Breeze Trolley runs daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm to and from Siesta Key Village and Turtle Beach. A mobile app is available to track the trolley in real time.
iPhone and Android devices, online at scgov.net/OnDemand, or by calling 941-300-1553. OnDemand uses accessible minivans and operates similarly to today’s popular ridesharing services like Uber and Lift. The OnDemand vehicle will pick up customers and take them to their destinations within the same zone.
Click here to find out more about the contest.
Hours of event: Friday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sunday and Monday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission: Various package prices and single day ticket prices are available. On line discounts available with various other ticket packages including reserved private parking.
Siesta Key Master Sand Sculpture Contest to November Sarasota Events
Siesta Key Activities and Events
What other Web Visitors are Saying....
"John, your site is excellent! I am coming home from Afghanistan in 2 weeks and discussed with my wife where to go when I get home. We looked from Winter Haven to Tarpon Springs. This site made the choice for us. You have all the information we need in a perfect format. You have set the bar very high." -- David D, Florida
"Just stumbled upon your website and thought I'd send you a shout out. The site is marvelous. My girlfriend and I are paying a visit to Sarasota. It's one thing to hear good things on the Travel Channel; it's another to hear from a real person with real opinions. Thanks for all the info!" -- Brad, Michigan, US
"I just wanted to let you know I thoroughly enjoy reading what you have to say about Sarasota and the fun things to do here. I just recently moved to Sarasota and I am still looking for things to do. I find your site to be very helpful. Thank you for all the work you put into this site, for all of us to enjoy." -- Donna P, Sarasota, FL
"Wow! What a great way to represent our community! I love your site! I
can look on here and see what's happening! And we know, there is ALWAYS
something happening in Sarasota!" -- Heather P, Sarasota, FL
"Very glad I found your website.....this is a great website...will use it often & let friends know about it." -- Jayne S, Bradenton, FL
"As a visitor to Siesta Key from the UK, I would just like to say what an excellent source of information your website is. Thanks & please keep it up" -- Chris M, United Kingdom
"Thank you for a great website. Keep up the great work!" -- Carole W, Newburgh, NY
"Cool site" -- Pat W, Massachusetts