Levis Commons to host “Sand-Tastic!” festivalWritten by Paige Shermis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Four 8-ton sand sculptures will tower over Levis Commons at the Sand-Tastic! Summer Festival on June 28 and 29.
The artist behind these mammoth mounds of sand is Chad Hartson, who owns and operates Ice Creations in Napoleon, which crafts ice sculptures. In the summertime, he and his team also make sand sculptures.
Hartson’s past sand sculptures have included an iguana, a palm tree, characters from the movie “Toy Story” and a 50-ton elephant in honor of the first birthday of the Toledo Zoo’s now 10-year-old elephant Louie.
“We start off by packing the sand into wooden forms, and we use a lot of water so that [the sand] bonds together. One of the keys to carving is keeping the sand wet, because it’s easier to carve. We [take] off the top layer of the form, and work from the top down … one portion at a time. Once the sculptures are done, we spray it with Elmer’s glue and water to add a protective coating around it, so that it will last for a while,” Hartson said.
The sand sculptures, however, are only part of the entertainment that will be offered at the open-air festival.
The festival also features chalk artists, live music by INSYNC DJ Service and the Toledo School for the Arts Steel Drum Band, horse-drawn carriage rides, juggling by Craig Wise, a photo booth and the RE/MAX hot air balloon, if weather permits. For the full schedule of events with times, visit bit.ly/sandtastic13.
Each afternoon, Hartson will lead a sand sculpting demonstration. There will be an amateur sand sculpting contest 6-8 p.m. June 28. To participate, register online at www.shop
The Sand-Tastic! Summer Festival was years in the making, said Casey Pogan, marketing director with The Town Center at Levis Commons.
“This is actually our third year for the event. [Levis Commons had previously] worked with Chad Hartson, a local business owner, who does ice sculptures. We had talked to [Hartson] about doing the sand sculpture event, and, finally, three years ago we made it happen,” Pogan said.
The first year of the Sand-Tastic! Summer Festival, 10,000 visitors attended. Last year, 15,000 people came, and this year 20,000-30,000 guests are expected, Pogan said.
“The beauty of the event is that it’s all day Friday and Saturday, and people are shopping, dining and being entertained. It’s good for all ages. There’s a giant sandbox for kids, there’s live music for the adults; we have carriage rides [and] there are things like face painting and the balloon artist,” Pogan said.
Also, there will be a limbo contest and a hula-hoop contest for adults, as well as iced beverages available at several restaurants, Pogan said.
Salvatore Capelli Hair Spa, whose office moved to Levis Commons eight weeks ago, will offer temporary hair coloring and massages at their booth from noon to 8 p.m. both days of the festival.
“At the booth, we will be doing different fun hair colors. Mostly we will be adding zings of color with … the hair mascara that can even go on dark hair,” said Cindi Britt, Salvatore Capelli owner and head stylist.
The salon will offer chair massages as well as hand and arm massages, in order to give guests a sampling of their services, Britt said.
New to the festival this year is an oversized water table for children to play at, as well as a giant ball pit, Pogan said. The water table will be near Bar Louie on the main boulevard.
As in previous years, the festival will feature a 30-by-30-foot sandbox, located on the main boulevard by Shoe Dept.
Sand-Tastic! Summer Festival’s theme this year is patriotism, which will be reflected in everything from the sand sculptures to the children’s temporary tattoos.
The sculptures will stay up at Levis for a week after their construction under 10-by-10-foot tents so they don’t get rained on.
“They will, however, be a little windblown by the end of the week,” Pogan said.
Hartson, who has been sculpting ice and sand since 1996, does not mind.
“All the art we do is pretty much temporary,” he said.