Written by: Tyler Juranovich, Chronicle-Tribune
Community organizations sent their finest sand sculptors to the sand volleyball field at the Marion Splash House Saturday morning for the county’s Court Appointed Special Advocates’ (CASA) seventh annual Sand Sculpture Artfest.
Executive Director of CASA Leslie Hendricks said the event is the organization’s only fundraiser of the year with each year grossing more money than the last. Hendrick’s said the fundraiser was on target to meet their goal of $20,000, which is the largest amount in the event’s history.
Hendrick’s said the support of the organizations and community has been positively overwhelming.
“I think this has been successful because of how unique it is,” Hendricks said.
Participants were given five hours to sculpt their masterpiece, using sand, spray paint if desired and any other props needed.
Sculptures were diverse. One group built a replica of the Grant County Courthouse. Another built Olaf from the movie “Frozen.” And another built a scene from the story of Noah’s Ark. About 20 total sculptures were built.
The event was a fundraiser, but it also had a competitive aspect. Four awards, in the form of plastic sand castle trophies, were given out.
The People’s Choice Award, given to the organization that received the most votes from the general public, went to the collaborative effort of Catey Williams Dentistry and Michael and Kenny for their “Cheeseburger in Paradise” sculpture complete with a sand cheeseburger, moat and shark.
Michael Belcher, one of the builders for the sculpture, said the building process took the group four hours.
The Golden Pail Award, given out by CASA’s Board of Trustees, was given to St. Paul Catholic Parish for their Noah’s Ark sand sculpture. This was the first year the church had competed in the contest.
Nick Spitzer, one of the builders for the Ark sculpture, said the award meant a lot to him.
“There were so many good ones out there,” Sptizer said. “That makes winning feel great. It was a blast doing this.”
Lindsay Ngo, another sculptor for the Ark, said winning pleasantly surprised her.
“I was like ‘Wow, I can’t believe we just won,’” Ngo said. “We’ll definitely be back next year.”
The other two awards, the Schramm Family Award and the Raisin Award, were given to Riverside Federal Credit Union and Alex and Dana Kenworthy, respectively.
Hendrick’s says she has seen the event grow bigger each year, with the community becoming more and more supportive as well.
“It really just melts my heart, and I’m so happy to see this and people coming to support CASA,” Hendricks said.