Sand sculpting contest in Coney raises money for Sandy families

August 18, 2014 Jaime DeJesus
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Building sand castles just isn’t for children. Saturday August 16 marked the 24th annual Sand Sculpting Contest, an event that pits semi-professional and professional sculptors of all ages at Coney Island Beach, between West 10th and West 12th Streets. The free event, which spanned from 12-6 p.m., was sponsored by Brooklyn Community Services (BCC) and Astella Development Corporation.

“The day went great. We couldn’t have asked for better weather,” said BCC Public Relations Manager Nish Suvarnakar, who was pleased with the higher than usual attendance.

As many as 10,000 people had the chance to see some of the sculptures. “We always get a good crowd,” Suvarnakar said. “This year was probably one of the bigger attendances of boardwalk and that swelled the amount of people that came to view the contest.”

For the second consecutive year, the event was held as a fundraiser to help those who continue to struggle due to the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

“BCC worked with Astella to provide immediate relief to families right after Sandy, providing basic house items such as beds as well as gift cards,” Suvarnakar said. “We are working on phase two, which is to rebuild and work with families to build or rebuild homes in areas that haven’t been able to. The funds this year will go towards rebuilding and construction of homes.” Before this year’s event, the effort has raised over $300,000 in private donations to support direct storm relief.

This time around, 58 teams and nearly 98 people participated in the competition, which is divided into seven categories, for individual adults, groups and children. First place winners for the categories went home with $500.

“We had lots of return sculptors,” noted Suvarnakar. “There were a lot of semi-pros who do it as a hobby but do high end work. From the individual adults, Frank Russo’s work is always something to behold. He creates solid tall structures. There was also new artist in mixed group category that sculpted the Freedom Tower. There were a lot of buildings and lizards sculpted this time around.

“This has always been a community event and ways to get community members come out have good time and bring families together. We’re looking to make next year even bigger. We’re looking forward to next year already.”

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