State of the Crystal Classic
By Brian Wigglesworth
With the number of visitors dwindling here on the Key for the back-to-school season, the committee for The Siesta Key Crystal Classic is well under way planning for this year’s presentation of the art of sand sculpting to welcome all of our seasonal friends back. Maria Bankemper, owner of the Best Western Plus Hotel, will be leading the charge again, along with Marlene Roome, Trish Ivey, Mark Smith, the Board and staff of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and myself. We’ll all be working hard to bring something new and different to the event this year.
One thing new this year is the tag line for the event. In an attempt to showcase the artistic talent that we bring in from all over the world, and also better describe the event’s varied attractions like the live music, lessons, shows and vendors, it is now the Siesta Key Crystal Classic “International Sand Sculpting Festival”.
Again we are scanning the globe to bring the best sculptors here to Siesta Key. Among the fresh faces this year will be Susane Rueseler from Holland, Ilya Filimontsev from Russia, Enguerrand David from Belgium and Leonardo Ugolini from Italy. We also have sculptors returning this year from U.S. Ireland, Four Canadian Provinces and Poland.
If you attended last year you may have caught the Margaritaville Apparel fashion show on top of a 60 foot long catwalk sand sculpture. It was fantastic and from what we have found out, had never been done before. This year we are attempting to partner with the fabulous Sarasota Film Festival to have them project a movie on a 14 foot high drive-in theater screen. I’ve designed it to be sculpted out of sand, complete with a row of cars bearing the logos of our top sponsors – I believe another first for sand sculpting and Siesta Key. We also have another year of great musical talent that, this year, will be performing on a sand stage built into the front of the Movie screen.
As of now, the movie night will be held on Saturday night, November 14th for a separate admission fee. We will have popcorn and beverages, as well as our beer and food vendors open for the beginning of the film and a warm up session with one of our favorite bands. As we get closer to the dates of the event, November 13-17, keep updated on these events by visiting the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce or the event’s site, www.siestakeycrystalclassic.com , not to mention our local coverage publication, The Siesta Sand newspaper!
We are still seeking major sponsors to help us keep this party rolling every year. Personal or business contributors are always needed and greatly appreciated. This is a major undertaking to plan, advertise, implement, house, feed and transport 30 sculptors and to create a safe, organized and enjoyable event for tens of thousands of people over a week long period. We really can use all the help we can get.
If you want to get involved in the Crystal Classic, either as a vendor in our vendor village, or to help us sponsor this fantastic Siesta Key art festival, contact the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and find out how. And, be sure to ask how you can attend our “Meet the Sculptors” dinner.
If you happen to see me in the sand, or at our gift store, Gidget’s, in the Village, be sure to stop and say hi, and let me know your thoughts and ideas about the Crystal Classic and bringing art to the Key. We are trying to make this event as enjoyable as possible for our residents and our visitors from far and near. Until then, ‘may the sand be with you’.