OCEAN CITY – The inaugural OC Sandfest, a two-week event showcasing pieces of art along the Boardwalk, was deemed a success this week by event organizers.
The Mayor and City Council along with Team Sandtastic and T.E.A.M Productions held the inaugural event of OC Sandfest the last two weeks of August.
The sand breaking ceremony took place on the beach at North Division Street on the morning of Aug. 18. Following the ceremony internationally renowned professional sand sculptors from Team Sandtastic began creating sand sculptures along the beach between North Division and 4th streets.
Along with showcasing the skills of the sand sculptors, OC Sandfest featured interactive family attractions and other activities.
From Aug. 18 through Aug. 22, visitors to Ocean City watched master champion sand sculptors transform the sand piles into creative works of art. The sculptures remained on display through Aug. 31 along the Boardwalk.
The event was funded in part through the Town of Ocean City’s Tourism Advisory Board along with the generous sponsorship of several businesses.
“This event truly would have not been possible without the Town of Ocean City’s support especially through the Public Works Department and through the contributions of the businesses that helped sponsored the event,” Bob Rothermel of T.E.A.M Productions said this week. “It was a good, positive story to tell at a time Ocean City is looking for a great story to tell. As summer wanes you still want to keep your name out there as a viable destination.”
According to Rothermel, the concept of OC Sandfest was to raise awareness for Ocean City in the last weeks of summer while families’ attention traditionally turn to school.
“We wanted to create a profile kind of event to help keep the town marketable to families that are impacted by those types of events, such as those with preschool children or those whose children have left the nest,” Rothermel said. “I think that is who we saw in town and gathered a very favorable reaction as people came up and down the Boardwalk.”
Social media sites promoting OC Sandfest reflected over 100,000 views, Rothermel said.
“Building sand castles is an iconic activity when you go on a beach vacation, and many years ago Ocean City attempted to break a world record with the world’s largest sand castle in 1989. It was very well received but went by the wayside,” Rothermel said. “It is a gigantic undertaking but since that time it seems like any waterfront community with a beach is trying to break the world record sandcastle … so we were looking for a way of incorporating sand castles into the marketing mix. It wasn’t a competition. It was an art show.”
T.E.A.M Productions researched several different sand sculpting companies until they came across Team Sandtastic out of Florida.
“They brought four separate carvers who had all been a part of international competitions, and had their own pedigree of sand carving expertise,” Rothermel said.
Interactive activities during the event included lessons with carvers teaching the trick of the trade.
“We had our own drip castle, and there were 20 to 30 families participating in that. I was happy to get that kind of public participation,” Rothermel said. “It was very successful. We are very pleased. It is always great to do an event and get positive feedback right away.”
As far as if OC Sandfest will return for a second year, Rothermel stated it is too early to tell but T.E.A.M Productions will be planning on it.