Founded in 2010, the first Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition was held on November 18 through November 21, 2010.
The Crystal Classic came about as a result of discussions between master sand sculptor and Siesta Key resident Brian Wigelsworth and representatives of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation, Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The competition is modeled after other master competitions that are held yearly in Texas, Virginia, Washington and Ft. Myers, Florida. Master sculptors earn their title by competing and winning first in amateur competitions, such as the one held in Siesta Key in May, and then moving on to the Master Competitions.
Organizers felt this could be an event that would have a positive, economic impact on the community with increased tourism by highlighting that sand sculpting is an art form and Siesta Key has the ideal sand for sculpting. The first year was an overwhelming success and the Crystal Classic has quickly become a local tradition and a draw for visitors from outside Sarasota County, which account for over 50% of the 35,000+ attendees.
Recently named America's #1 Beach, the Crystal Classic has become a favorite of the professional sand sculptors who have competed here. Citing the beauty and cleanliness of the pristine white sand, sculptors have remarked that their sculptures look almost as if they were "carved in marble."
In only 24 sculpting hours, (spanning the four day event), the master sculptors create sand masterpieces, some over ten feet tall, and transform the always beautiful Siesta Beach into an outdoor art gallery. The Crystal Classic connects the arts and the beach in ways never before seen in Sarasota.