Greenwich families work their magic at Sand Blast 2014

It was quite a blast for Ron Stanton and Cassandra Sanscartier who were some of the participants in the annual Sand Blast competition at Greenwich Point. Their lighthouse sculpture collapsed but they managed to make the best of it and even show off for the camera. –John Ferrison Robben

It was quite a blast for Ron Stanton and Cassandra Sanscartier who were some of the participants in the annual Sand Blast competition at Greenwich Point. Their lighthouse sculpture collapsed but they managed to make the best of it and even show off for the camera. –John Ferrison Robben

It’s one of those annual summer events that Greenwich always enjoys and dozens of families participated last Saturday in the 2014 Sand Blast sand sculpture contest.

It was a fine day at the beach as residents enjoyed a cool summer day at Greenwich Point and continued an age-old Greenwich tradition. Born from a partnership between the Greenwich Arts Council and the Department of Parks and Recreation, Sand Blast invites participants to exercise their creativity in a classic beach fashion. Having run for more than 30 years, the event has grown into a decades-old Greenwich tradition shared between generations.

While the overcast sky didn’t make for the most ideal summer afternoon, the cool weather kept the sand moist and malleable, helping keep dense sculptings together. Yellow flags marked each work of art being crafted along the shore, allowing beach goers to easily identify and check out each piece. Sponsor Meli-Melo helped to ensure that each of this year’s contestants was rewarded for their work with a prize ribbon, with the most impressive selections earning gift certificates to the crêperie and juice bar.

Teek Eaton-Koch molded one of the day’s most interesting sculptures: a palace inspired by near-east architecture, specifically the Hagia Sophia in Turkey. The Riverside resident has been an active Sand Blast participant for all his life, attending the event whenever time would allow. Though he had an idea in mind when he left home, Mr. Eaton-Koch described the sculpture process as one of patient innovation.

“I took a five-minute print out and said ‘Eh, let’s take this down and see if it comes to anything,” Mr. Eaton-Koch said. “From there on, you’ve got to kind of  work with the sand. The sand is wet, you’ve got to work with it or you’re going to struggle; you’re going to struggle a lot.”

Father and son construction team Ryan and Nicholas Donohew looked to the east for inspiration as well, dedicating their portion of the beach to a model of the ancient city of Ur in Iraq. Their city contained buildings, roads, bridges and ponds, all anchored by a sandy miniature replica of the city’s 200-foot tall ziggurat in the center.

The Post also had a chance to see several exciting entrants including a giant sun sculpture by Ed Tomer and Tim Mund, a replica of the World Cup logo by Florida natives Catherine Weeks and Rachel Trueden, a giant hot dog by Tim and Olivia Jones, a set of pyramids built by Patrick Koleszar and Kimberly and Caroline Boyd, and a lighthouse constructed by Peter and Ron Stanton, Juliane and Cassandra Sanscartier and Justine Dellate, with much needed support from Rich Orzo.

Between his duties as a staff member, arts council administrative assistant Noah Steinman built a sand turtle complete with seaweed hair and a detailed shell. A graduate of Oberlin College, Mr. Steinman now assists with the council’s galleries and educational programs.

“I live in Westport … and we don’t really have too many families activities like this,” Mr. Steinman said on the beach. “It’s a really cool thing to see so many flags and so many families out.”

Though some participants recalled the years when the event involved a more serious competition aspect, Greenwich Arts Council Executive Director Paul Master-Karnik echoed the idea of Sand Blast being a family-focused event.

“We like to provide one day at the beach for everybody to come together and do something really creative,” Mr. Master-Karnik said. “It involves the parents, the kids, getting the idea for what they want to do and then actually implementing and creating.”

Mr. Master-Karnik credited the Department of Parks and Recreation with much of the logistics for the event, as well as in-town promotion. The department monitors weather and tide trends to ensure an ideal date and time for the sand sculpture contest to take place.

“The goals are really very similar to our entire mission at Parks & Recreation and that’s to provide activities for the community that are both passive and active. This is kind of a combination and both; it’s also a nice way to tie in the arts in the community,” Patricia Triano, a supervisor for the Department of Parks and Recreation, said. “We really want to give a lot of different types of activities and recreational opportunities to people in Greenwich, and this really hits all of those areas.”

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