The Siesta Key Crystal Classic

Start Date: 11/15/2019 12:00 am ● End Date: 11/18/2019 12:00 am ● event website

The Crystal Classic came about as a result of discussions between master sand sculptor and Siesta Key resident Brian Wigelsworth and representatives of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The competition is modeled after other master competitions that are held yearly in Texas, Virginia, Washington and Ft. Myers, Florida. Master sculptors earn their title by competing and winning first in amateur competitions, such as the one held in Siesta Key in May, and then moving on to the Master Competitions.

Organizers felt this could be an event that would have a positive, economic impact on the community with increased tourism by highlighting that sand sculpting is an art form and Siesta Key has the ideal sand for sculpting. The first year was an overwhelming success and the Crystal Classic has quickly become a local tradition and a draw for visitors from outside Sarasota County, which account for over 50% of the 35,000+ attendees.

The festival has grown into a premier event over the years and in order to bring it to fruition it takes a small “village” of volunteers and money.  Siesta Beach Festival, Inc., is the entity that owns and operates the festival and partners with the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce for production.  The admission cost covers all of what you do inside the sand perimeter from entertainment to the artwork to lessons and demonstrations.  This is a non-profit event that requires thousands of hours from volunteers to be able to bring it to you year after year.  It’s proceeds go to pay for the production of the event only and not to generate a profit for an entity nor provide primary income for anyone.  We do our best to promote our #1 beach and showcase Siesta Key as the premier beach destination at a time when our community is in the off-season while also promoting the visual arts through sand sculptures created from the whitest, finest sand in the world.  Admission income covers most of what we bring to our attendees but we would not be able to produce this festival without grant funds provided by the Sarasota Arts and Cultural Alliance and the Tourist Development Commission. We thank you for your continued patronage.

Recently named America’s #1 Beach, the Crystal Classic has become a favorite of the professional sand sculptors who have competed here. Citing the beauty and cleanliness of the pristine white sand, sculptors have remarked that their sculptures look almost as if they were “carved in marble.”

In only 24 sculpting hours, (spanning the four day event), the master sculptors create sand masterpieces, some over ten feet tall, and transform the always beautiful Siesta Beach into an outdoor art gallery. The Crystal Classic connects the arts and the beach in ways never before seen in Sarasota.

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