FIFTEEN YEARS OF FUN!
by sandy feet
The other day Amazin' Walter and I were discussing plans for the upcoming SPI Sand Castle Days competition when something really struck us -- the "15th annual" stuff. Have we really done this 15 times? So much has changed in those years - on SPI, in the world in general and in the world of sand sculpture in particular. Near as we can figure, we are the only people on the Island who have been actively involved in each and every SPI Sand Castle Days that has ever occurred, and we wish we had done a better job of documenting all of them, instead of just the past seven years archived on the event website.
This caused me to think of some memorable contests of years past:
2001 - Notable because it occurred while the bridge was down and we were very concerned its efffect on the crowd. Fortunately, a very large number of folks braved the long ferry lines to watch - and participate - in the event, and most will agree it was one of the best ever.
1999 - This was the only year we did not have a "masters" category due to funding cutbacks. The amateur contest drew plenty of participants, but popular demand brought the Masters back in 2000.
1997 - Was very nearly a disaster when a nasty bloom of redtide threatened to sideline the whole event. (Check out the photo of the Sons of the Beach wearing surgical masks as we start up work on the demo sculpture!) When the redtide disappeared the very same day that the masters started carving it could be considered nothing less than a bona fide miracle.
Prior to 1996 - the first year that I documented the contest on the web - I can only summon up vague memories and a few disorganized photos of the contests. I have been going through some of those old pictures and am in the process of posting some of the best of them this new "Archives" section of the event website -- if you were here, or even if you are just curious about this event's history, here's a place to take a stroll down memory lane.
One year that I will never forget was the first time we added a "masters" category -- could it really have been way back in 1989? and the storm of controversy generated by the judging results which was fuelled by the fact that one of the judges had been involved in sponsorship (through the Baptist church) of the winning sculptor, and his son had participated as one of the sculptor's helpers (back when we allowed such things.) The resulting brew-ha-ha forever changed the way the SPI masters contest is judged.