Sunday, June 7, 2009

Southwest Airlines and Sand in the City

Wow! What a fun event and worthwhile day of hard work!

Sand in the City is a sand sculpting contest where teams compete for trophies for the best work. But it's also a fund raising event for different non-profit organizations in the local city that is hosting the contest. Nebraska Children's Home Society was the organization that all the donations were going to in Omaha this year. Southwest Airlines was recruited to participate this year by the man that runs the large beach-fun event, Bert Adams. He flys us all the time and this year he managed to peak our interest enough that we decided to join the fun.

It coincided with the Taste of Omaha that was happening Friday-Sunday. People could meander through the parking lot of the Quest Center, the locale of the sand sculpting, to view and vote on their favorite sculpture. It's only $1 to vote and all proceeds go to the NCHS.

The event planning began back in May with a meeting of the teams and Bert Adams. He showed us how to mix the sand and water and pack it properly in order for it to stand up to the sculpting. It was also the time to learn about the types of tools that we could use. A couple weeks later was our one and only practice session. Definitely worth while!
Each team was assigned an architect to design our respective plans for our themes. They would also work with us on the sculpture. He drew up the plans and made many copies for us to follow during the entire process. Our forms were built according to these plans.

The night before the contest, there was a party for all the teams at the Slowdown. It was sponsored by....who else? Southwest Airlines! Just a fun night for all of us to win little gift bags. One lucky winner won a ticket on SWA anywhere we fly!

The weather turned out to be perfect...upper 80's and barely a breeze! There were volunteers that came by our tent quite often to offer free bottles of water. And because of the amount of water that is needed to pack the sand, there were huge tanks like those used to feed cattle that were supplied to each team. Other volunteers were driving up and down each row of tents replenishing our tanks. We used bucket after bucket of water along with the sand to pack up each form. The process is intense. There is a lot of physical labor involved so the more people on each team, the better.

We only had 6 hours to complete our structure. Prior to the contest, it was allowable to have the forms (previously built by a team member according to the sculpture requirements) all put together and leveled off. Some of our team arrived around 10AM to begin preparing our site. The contest itself began sharply at 12 noon and ended at 6PM. There were many master sand sculptor coaches that were assigned certain teams to advise us in the event we had questions or problems. They could give us a hand if needed with the more difficult aspects of any sculpture.

We used tools ranging from rakes and shovels to paint brushes and hand made trowels. Pretty much anything works! We supplied our buckets for water along with all of our tools. I learned so much from this. I am amazed at the quality of work some of the teams had. The intricate details were outstanding! I wish I had photos of the others sculptures. Themes such as "Finding Nemo", "Up!", "Monsters vs. Aliens invades Omaha", "College World Series" and the gang from "Peanuts...Lucy, Charlie Brown and Snoopy" were just some of what I admired.

Although we didn't win a prize, we now have a better understanding of the whole process and what we as a first year team we can plan for next year.

Our theme was about our most popular destinations....Chicago, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Getting our forms set up and leveled off.

Bert Adams, the organizer.

Kim Schenkleberg (? I think) from NCHS

Some of the teams prior to the kick off.

Getting our forms packed and ready for sculpting. This is a very messy and hard job!

Others packing the other forms.

The sculpting in progress.

Getting closer to the end....

Chicago skyline with Chicago Bulls symbol.

SWA plane with Mickey Mouse nose and Shamu body flying through the clouds. (Sea world of Orlando)
I myself worked on this. The tail, engines and the clouds.

Symbol of Southwest Airlines.

Other view of Chicago skyline. The basketball has hit the side of the buildings creating falling debris.

Slots anyone? Las Vegas is one our favorite destinations.

The map of the USA has been cut out of the sand surrounding our plot. It's difficult to see the pattern unless you know it's there. Each element has been placed as if it were on the map.

I was proud of our work! Not bad for a first year team. As I receive photos from other team members, I'll share them as well. There are none of me right now as I was trying to get alot of the others working.
The public was invited to view all sculptures for free and vote for their favorite as well.
I saw a small clip on the news of our team....very neat! If you ever have a chance to take part in this event in your city, it's definitely a new experience and goes towards great charities.


DUTA said...

Great pictures of a worthy event!

Kevin Moberg said...

How fun! I'm impressed that you got experts to teach you, design for you, consult the day of the event, etc. -- serious stuff!

red velvet kate said...

Great blog post!

I work on, and I'd love to add the photos to our flickr page:

Let me know what you think!

Kim said...

So awesome to see the pics (our PR and Marketing person found your site)
- Kim Singletary (event organizer of Sand in the City) :)

red velvet kate said...

Hooray! Thanks for letting us post them there. Hope they'll get a lot of fanfare :)