By Seth Daniel
The sandscrapers, carvers and five-gallon buckets are out, and master sculptors have already begun work at the sixth annual New England Sand Sculpting Festival on Revere Beach – the city’s signature event of the year.
According to coordinators Adrienne Maguire, president of the Revere Beach Partnership, and Erin Lynch of Celebrity Marketing Inc. (CMI), sculptors began arriving last weekend and are already hard at work on the collaborative sculpture in the middle – the theme of which is “New England Sign Shop” and features small figurines making signs from scratch.
On Thursday, the collaborative sculpture will wrap up and sculptors will begin working on their individual pieces, competing for $15,000 in prize money.
This year’s sculptors are a mix of old favorites and new entries.
Also this year, Revere festival coordinators are working with veteran competitors Meredith Corson and Dan Doubleday, who have formed a company called Sanding Ovations. They are coordinating the sculpting and said everyone is very excited to be in Revere.
“They love the sand here, and there are a lot of good people here,” said Corson on Monday. “We have really good talent coming in. There are some sculptors who wanted to be here and came for the first time, and then there are sculptors that love to come here and the public loves to be here. Even though they’re not from here, they have come to be public favorites at this competition.”
There will be eight competitors this year, including:
•Carl Jara of Cleveland, Ohio (last year’s winner)
•Dan Belcher of St. Louis, Mo.
•Dan Doubleday of Treasure Island, Fla.
•Justin Gordon of Groveland
•Matt Long of Staten Island, New York City
•Matt Martelli of Revere
•Sue McGrew of Tacoma
•Steve Topazio of Tiverton, RI
Coordinators said this was perhaps the hardest festival to bring together because sponsorships were hard to come by with the waning economy. Many companies that were diehard supporters in the past saw their marketing money dry up this year.
“It was definitely a hard year,” said Erin Lynch. “Companies just don’t have the marketing money they had before. We’ve been very lucky, and our companies have been generous to us and allowed us to put this on again.”
The major sponsor again this year is the Ocean Club Condominium project on Revere Beach that has yet to start but has been a major Revere supporter since its planning and sales began several years ago.
Other sponsors include Waterfront Square at Revere Beach, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, Comfort Inn, the Boston Bruins, Kelly’s Roast Beef, East Boston Savings Bank, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Suffolk Downs, Today’s Auto Body and Collision, Mike 93.7 and Fuze Beverages.
Mayor Tom Ambrosino said it would a great event for families in tough economic times.
“In these tough economic times, we are proud to offer this free family friendly event,” said the mayor. “We are excited to host this event once again. It is a great opportunity for families to come to Revere Beach and see these amazing works of art and experience all Revere has to offer.”
Event coordinators said they are expecting large crowds later this week and this weekend because it is a free event and the weather is predicted to be very beach-friendly.
“We hope it’s very big,” said Maguire. “The more people, the better. We love a crowd on Revere Beach.”
Organizers said they are grateful to the State Police – Lt. Mills, Joe Rotondo and Brian Kelly of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and all of the City of Revere services, including police, fire and the Department of Public Works.