TO SAY the lead up to this year’s much-awaited Windsor International Sand Sculpting Competition has gone off without a hitch would be a massive overstatement.
The event, themed Fairytales and Fables, kicks off tomorrow January 10, was close to folding twice, organisers are still struggling to recruit local volunteers and sponsorship was hard fought.
But with good weather predicted and crowds already forming to watch the sand arrive and sculptors beginning prepping, this year’s event is warming up just fine.
Event organiser Toni Ford said the fight to get the event off the ground was still a battle one week out from Christmas.
Before that the event was threatened after Hawkesbury Council decided to move it from Howe Park, a decision that was later overturned.
“We weren’t sure the upgrades to Howe Park would be finished in time and one week before Christmas we were considering cancelling the event,” Ms Ford said.
“It hasn’t been easy, but things are moving along on time ready for the official start of the event.”
Ms Ford said volunteer scouting has been “extremely difficult” and weeks two and three of the competition were still looking gloomy for organisers, with the lack of help.
She said organisers are desperate for anyone who may be able to volunteer their time during the event, especially any qualified traffic management people.
Sculptors Jaap Tichler, Jino Van Bruinessen and Yves Geraedts were on site to see the sand arrive last Friday and all expressed their delight in returning for the event.
Tichler and Geraedts both made the trip from the Netherlands, while Bruinessen is a local artist from the Blue Mountains.
While they didn’t spill the beans on just what they would be creating for this year’s event, Geraedts did admit he was inspired for his sculpture from a children’s book.
Mr Van Bruinessen said he is expecting more impressive work from the artists again this year, and said winning the event was like winning the lottery.
“It’s really up to the judges and what they like. All the sculptures are winners, but to actually win the event would be like winning the lotto ... it’s just luck,” he said.
The artists began working on their sculptures early this morning, and gates will open to the public from tomorrow until January 28.
For more information about the event or to volunteer for the event contact Hawkesbury Visitor Information centre on 4578 0233 or visit the event shop in Riverview Shopping Centre, Windsor.