sand sculpting, fort myers beach, championship, southwest florida, events, things to do

I’m all about creating traditions—especially around the holidays—and the American Sand Sculpting Championship on Fort Myers Beach is one of my all-time favorites. When we first started going a few years ago, it was a lot simpler—you could walk right up on the beach and watch the sculptors at work. It’s gotten more popular in recent years, though, evolving into a full-blown event requiring wrist bands, admission fees and some skillful dodging to avoid being caught in other spectators’ photo ops.

This year was the biggest yet in the event’s 28-year history, featuring 16 master sculptors, five master sculptor duos and 11 advanced amateurs from around the world, including Italy, Portugal, Canada, Latvia and Germany. (The U.S. was also represented with artists from Texas, California, New Jersey and Florida.)

sand sculpting, fort myers beach, championship, southwest florida, events, things to do

Over the 10-day festival, which ran this year from Nov. 21-30, the sculptors transformed generic blocks of sand into castles, dinosaurs, Christmas trees and other more abstract works of art through an intricate process that requires soaking, waiting, sculpting and, finally, spraying with a mixture of glue and water to seal the sculpture in place.

One area was dedicated to the non-pros who, inspired by the larger-than-life sculptures nearby on the beach, wanted to try their hands at the art. Everyone who came out had the same thing to say: “That is much harder than it looks!”

sand sculpting, fort myers beach, championship, southwest florida, events, things to do

How great is it that it’s the end of November, and we’re wearing shorts? I live in these J. Crew Factory Buttery Twill chino shorts year round, and I actually like them better than the regular J. Crew shorts because they’re lighter weight (and less expensive!) I paired them with a breezy cotton tunic by Splendid (similar), a striped cross body bag by Tory Burch (similar), Jack Rogers Navajo sandals and an adorable needlepoint mermaid hat by Harding-Lane.

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