Clearwater's Sugar Sand Festival honors Prince with sand sculpture tribute
Clearwater Beach's Sugar Sand Festival, taking place through Sunday at Pier 60, has a musical theme this year, with giant sand scuptures of artists like Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, the Beatles and Lady Gaga.
So when news broke of Prince's passing on Thursday, organizers knew they had to add one more face.
Sand sculptor Patrick Harsch, 44, of Clearwater, got to work on a sculpture of Prince from his classic Purple Rain years -- bedazzled, brilliant, sexy in a poofy-sleeved shirt.
"It was a shock," said Harsch. "He was young, and we seem to be losing a lot of greats recently. ... That's what I grew up with. He was a big part of showing Middle America how to be cool."
Trying to create a three-dimensional work of art from an old photograph isn't easy. "You have to push and pull the lines," he said.
The fans who saw Harsch working on the sculpture on Tuesday seemed grateful and thankful that the festival was choosing to honor him in such a way.
"Some folks hadn't heard," he said. "You have to be the one to break it to them, which is not fun. One guy teared up and walked away."
-- Jay Cridlin