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Treasure Island will go ahead with Sanding Ovations sand sculpture show

With international travel problematic, it will be an exhibition in November instead of a competition.

Though many festivals and events have been canceled this year, Treasure Island says there is plenty of room to spread out at the beach, so it is plowing ahead with Sanding Ovations, the 12th annual display of elaborate sand sculptures.

Last year’s competition brought 14 artists from around the world to the white sands of Treasure Island. But with international travel tricky this year, organizers decided this year will be an exhibition of 10 sculptors rather than a competition, to be held Nov. 19-22.

"Freedom" by Jobi Bouchard is pictured at the Sanding Ovations sand sculpture event on Treasure Island beach in 2018. Because international travel is problematic this year, Sanding Ovations will be an exhibition, not a competition, for sand sculptors. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times (2018) ]

It will be free to view the creations on the beach behind the Bilmar Beach Resort, 10650 Gulf Blvd. in Treasure Island. There will also be a food court, bands and a fireworks display on Saturday night.

After more than a decade, the competition had grown to be the largest masters competition in the Southeast. The theme this year is “Sandhenge, a Sand Sculpting Exhibition.”

The sculptors invited this year include Deborah Barrett-Cutulle, Melineige Beauregard, Manuel Campos, Damon Meri, Abe Waterman and Bruce Philips, who will be creating Sandhenge.

A sand sculpture is pictured through palm trees during the Sanding Ovations sand sculpture event on Treasure Island beach in 2018. After 12 years, the event had grown into the largest such competition in the Southeast, but it will be an exhibition this year, not a competition. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times (2018) ]

The event will feature a food court, a beer garden and an arts and crafts marketplace. Attendees are encouraged to practice social distancing.

In addition to the sand sculpting, the city has moved up its annual beach kite festival to the same weekend, said city recreation director Cathy Hayduke, so there will be colorful kites and night flyovers provided by Windworks of Madeira Beach.