Sand-Tastic!: Levis Commons summer festival returns June 27-28Written by Jordan Finney | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Eight-ton sand sculptures and two 8-foot sidewalk chalk murals will be on full display at the fourth annual Sand-Tastic! festival, hosted June 27-28 by The Town Center at Levis Commons in Perrysburg.
“Northwest Ohio as a whole is a very artsy area,” said Casey Pogan, marketing director for Levis Commons. “We have the Crosby Festival, the Black Swamp Arts Festival… our area really thrives on art. Sand-Tastic! has morphed into something that’s still fun, but artsy.” Chad Hartson, owner of Napoleon -based Ice Creations, will oversee the sand sculpture projects for the fourth year. They are one of the most popular features of Sand-Tastic!. “I went to culinary school to be a chef and my last year of college I took a bunch of sculpture classes,” Hartson said. “It was something I loved to do and had a passion for so I forgot about the culinary stuff I was doing—other than ice carving— and focused on the sculpture side of things.” The sand sculptures take three days to finish, with Hartson working on them 10-12 hours each day. In the past, he’s carved everything from a “Toy Story” scene to a prisoner of war to an elephant. “For a lot of artists, the stuff we do is ‘not really art.’ My challenge to them is ‘Let me see you do it,’” Hartson said. “It may not be your typical form of art —not paintings or drawings—but it is art. The art world is so vast and sand is one of those forms that people don’t really think of as art until they see it as an elaborate display.” Pogan said that Levis Commons has hosted parking lot parties, wine tastings and 5K races but the “art-inspired events” typically draw the biggest crowds. Last year, despite pouring rain on Saturday, Levis Commons’ traffic counter counted about 15,000 attendees at Sand-Tastic!. However, this year’s event organizers said they hope to attract 15,000 – 20,000 people to the event. “There’s nothing like it in our area. You can have it be one giant play date,” Pogan said. “Kids are getting out of school and need a reason to get together with friends and parents will be able to catch up with each other, too, while their kids are busy playing. “This is a great environment for reuniting.”
Activities for children include a John Deere Gator track with miniature mobile tractors, bounce houses, water tables with squirt guns, a community sandbox, obstacle courses, and hands-on science games courtesy of Imagination Station. For especially eager sandcastle builders, free lessons from professional sand sculptors will be offered in the community sandbox on Friday and Saturday from 2 – 2:45 p.m. In addition, live music entertainment will be provided by DJ Paul Hernandez on Friday from 3 – 8 p.m. and by Jeff Stewart on Saturday from 2 – 4 p.m. The Toledo School of Arts’ Steel Drum Band will perform on Saturday from 6 – 8 p.m. Businesses at Levis Commons plan to have normal business hours throughout the weekend and encourage visitors to take a break from the heat and check out their shops. “People just have so much fun with the sun and sand sculptures and friends at Sand-Tastic!,” Hartson said. “The sand sculptures will be up at Levis Commons for about a week before they get taken down. Sand is a disposable art where it eventually has to get taken down. For me, the creating process is what’s most important. There’s this excitement that goes into creating a sculpture and seeing it finished. I want everyone to have that same experience — watching something beautiful built before your eyes.”
Tags: a community sandbox, bounce houses, DJ Paul Hernandez, Imagination Station, Jeff Stewart, John Deere Gator, Levis Commons, obstacle courses, sand, sand sculptures, Sand-Tastic!, science games, The Toledo School of Arts’ Steel Drum Band, Toy Story, water tables with squirt guns