For the 13th consecutive summer, business and community members gathered at the sandy area outside of the Splash House for the CASA Sand Sculpture Artfest, putting their creative skills on display while celebrating a worthy, and important, organization.
Through donations, CASA of Grant County raised $19,000, all of which went to the organization to assist with daily operational expenses enabling their continued mission— advocating for Grant County’s children.
“This is the Saturday in the sand where we get to say, ‘Have fun,’” CASA of Grant County Executive Director Leslie Hendricks said. “We are so excited for the weather today. It’s beautiful. The temperature is fantastic. This is perfect weather.”
According to Hendricks, 13 teams signed up for the event, all of whom sculpted their own unique work of art. Each team had
creative freedom with few restrictions, and each team was provided with the materials required to complete a sand sculpture.
“They can embellish the sand in any way they see fit to enhance the sculpture they are creating,” Hendricks said. “There are no rules against anything. They can bring props. They can move as much sand around in their space as they want. Whatever props they want, whatever paint they want, whatever supports they want, it’s up to them.”
There were a variety of incredible sculptures on display, including a shark, an octopus, a dog, and various interpretations of the CASA logo, to name a few.
After not holding a live event last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many events to be cancelled, Hendricks was pleased to have a return to normalcy for CASA’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
“It’s very fun. That was the thing the staff, board, and volunteers have been talking about all year – just being able to come back and do this in person,” Hendricks said. “It’s just very heartwarming to see this and to be back in person.”
Four awards were given out at the conclusion of the event. With its “CASA Volunteers are Jawsome” sculpture, Oak Hill won the People’s Choice Award, given to the team that had the most tickets within their voting bucket at the end of the judging period. Riverside Federal Credit Union won the Schramm Family Award, given by the family of Pastor Andy Schram, whom the event was created in honor and memory of. The Golden Pail Award was awarded to Midwest Eye Consultants for their “Leader Dogs” sculpture, and Grace Community Church won the Raisin’ Awareness award, which is given to the sculpture that best represented CASA of Grant County, as voted on by staff and volunteers.
The Sand Sculpture Artfest is not only an event for people to showcase their artistic talents but to also show support and love to a group of people who work tirelessly to serve Marion’s youth.
“[This event] is an affirmation to them,” Hendricks said. “For them to see the support and know that these community members are patting them on the back today saying, ‘What you do does matter and we believe in you.’ I think that is one of the greatest parts of the event.”