The Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival starts this weekend on Clearwater Beach. Among the big crowd pleasers at the festival every year are the amazing sand sculptures.

  • Sugar Sand Festival draws artists from around the world
  • Sculptures in 2018 tied together by "Sea America" theme
  • Festival runs April 13-22

The sights and sounds of people having fun in the sun are generally hard to miss on Clearwater Beach.

But step inside the white tent on the beach right now, and you can almost hear a pin drop, as dozens of master sculptors from around the world work at bringing their creations to life..

“It’s better than a desk job for sure,” sculptor Dean Arscott said.

To just make one of the sand sculptures takes 11 days of backbreaking work, from piling the sand to creating each minor detail.

As in year’s past, the different sculptures are all tied together. With a “Sea America” theme, Arscott, from St. Petersurg, wanted to bring the two places he calls home together.

“This right here is actually Ellicott City, Maryland, which is my hometown, which was the first stop of the BNL railroad when it first started,” he asiad.

A full sketch and pictures of the area serve as Arscott’s guide through the scultping process.

But for other artists, like Karen Fralich from Canada, the plan for the piece develops as she goes. Her sculpture is all about blues and jazz.

"You have to be able to shovel and compact about 15 tons of sand in about four hours. It’s a lot of work. but if you’re like me it’s really really fun! I like to do that!” said Fralich, one of just a few female artists at the festival this year.

It’s the love of the work, the artists say, that keeps them going through the long days.

“You can go huge and giant with it and it takes a fraction of the time that something like stone or another medium would take,” Fralich said.

“It’s creative, it’s physical, I get to travel a lot get to meet all kinds of new people,” Arscott added.

The festival starts on Friday and runs through April 22.