Siesta Key Crystal Classic Sand Sculpting Competition Returns for Second Year, Nov. 10 – 14, 2011

"Circle of Life" by Sandis Kondrats & Sue McGraw, Won the 2010 2010 Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition
"Circle of Life" by Sandis Kondrats & Sue McGraw, Won the 2010 2010 Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition

The Best Beach in America* will host the second annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition, Nov. 10 through Nov. 14, 2011. Having attended last year, trust me, you’ll want to save the date and plan a visit to Sarasota, Fla., to see the amazing masterpieces these master sculptors create out of the powder-soft quartz sand. Their skills allow them to create arches, round spheres and incredible detail from Siesta Key’s sand. I’m awed by what they do.

Keep in mind, they don’t let anyone with a plastic beach pail show up and compete. Participants vying for the prize purse are master sand sculptors. Okay, maybe there’s something for the aspiring sand architect to do during the event. Read on… 

Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sandsculpting Competition, Nov. 20, 2010: Sand Sculptor Walter McDonald
Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sandsculpting Competition, Nov. 20, 2010: Sand Sculptor Walter McDonald

Twelve teams of two master sculptors from across the globe will compete for the title and $18,000 in prize money during the “best of the best” Doubles Division of the World Championship of Sand Sculpture. Also participating this year are the stars of Travel Channel’s SandMasters.

Other highlights included in a press release about the Siesta Key Crystal Classic:

  • Quick Sand Speed Sculpting Competitions: Watch your favorite sculptors competing in fast-paced contests.
  • Amateur Competition: Fun for the whole family. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Six divisions, including teams and solos.
  • Flying Colors with John Gowdy: See the Paint and Sand Fly. Watch as the image appears before your eyes in a matter of minutes.
  • Sand Sculpting Lessons: Hour-long sand sculpting demonstrations by Sand Lubbers Sandvertising Agency.
  • Veterans Day Sculpture: A special welcome sculpture carved by Sand Lubbers Sandvertising Agency to honor our veterans.
  • Photo Opportunity Sand Sculptures: Have your picture taken from inside the sand in these Holiday-themed photo opportunity sculptures.
  • Mote Marine Laboratory’s Mote Mobile: On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Mote Marine Laboratory’s Mobile Exhibit will be on site featuring a reef exhibit with live fish and hands-on touch tanks.
  • Live Music and Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce Vendor Village: Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sandsculpting Competition, Nov. 20, 2010: SeaTurtle
Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sandsculpting Competition, Nov. 20, 2010: SeaTurtle

Proceeds from the Siesta Key Crystal Classic will benefit Mote Marine Laboratory’s sea turtle research, rescue, rehabilitation and conservation programs. Competition takes place Thursday through Sunday.

Nuts and Bolts About Attending the Siesta Key Classic
Dates: Nov. 10-14. Competition begins on Nov. 10 with winners announced on Nov. 13. Sculptures will remain available for viewing on Nov. 14.

Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Location: Siesta Key Public Beach, 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key, Sarasota, Fla.

Cost: $5 per person, per day. Must have an admission bracelet to enter. Purchase entry bracelets at the gate or at the satellite parking lot at Phillippi Estate Park.

Advance Ticket Purchase: Advance three-day bracelets (for admission on Friday, Saturday, Sunday only) will be available for $10 for a limited time online at (Lost bracelets will not be replaced.)

Parking: Parking and round-trip shuttle available Friday through Sunday for $5 at Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 34231. First bus departs Phillippi Estate Park at 8:30 a.m. (the last departure from Phillippi for the beach will be at 4 p.m.) and last bus leaves Siesta Beach for the return trip to Phillippi at 5:30 p.m. Shuttles will run throughout the day.

VIP Parking: VIP Parking is located adjacent to Siesta Key Public Beach. VIP Parking passes must be purchased in advance online at Cost: $49 for one, three-day parking pass or $59 for one, three day parking pass and two three-day admission bracelets.

Visit for additional information or call 1-800-398-0270.

* Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, internationally recognized as Dr. Beach, named Siesta Key the Best Beach in America when he released his Top 10 Best Beaches list this past Memorial Day Weekend.



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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