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'Sanding Ovations' competition kicks off on Treasure Island

Red Tide won't ruin the sand sculpting competition
Posted at 6:26 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-14 20:04:09-05

TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. — Turning sand, into art — 10 of the world’s best sand sculptors are competing on Treasure Island this week at one of Tampa Bay's largest sand sculpting events. 

Sanding Ovations kicked off their 10th sand sculpting competition Wednesday. The free event expects to draw up to 60,000 people. 

Despite Pinellas County still dealing with a red tide algae bloom, organizers of Sanding Ovations say the toxic bloom won’t ruin the fun. 

In fact, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says red tide continues to move North away from Pinellas County, improving conditions at popular beaches. 

Organizer Meredith Corson Doubleday says there’s no chance red tide could ruin the popular and successful Treasure Island event.

“We’ve got people calling City Hall and saying on Facebook ‘Oh! Red tide!' Noooo it’s not a problem. It’s fabulous. It’s beautiful!” Corson Doubleday said while looking out at the Gulf of Mexico in back of the Bilmar Beach Resort.

ABC Action News' drone couldn't spot any sign of the toxic bloom Wednesday. 

“There's no coughing or any signs of red tide, but it’s something that’s so crazy because it’s spotty," Corson added.

The sand sculpting competition comes at a time when businesses never needed it more. 

Roger Jones, the General Manager of Sloppy Joe's Restaurants says business has been impacted for more than two months.

“So we’re excited to get people out to the beach so they can see how nice it really is,” he added.

This weekend hotels in Treasure Island are sold out and restaurants are already busy.

Pinellas County leaders tell ABC Action News they have crews on standby near the festivities in case red tide kicks back up, but organizers say the competition will go on!

The free event runs through Sunday behind the Bilmar Beach Resort.

Judges will determine a winner Saturday at 2 p.m.

Parking is available in the public beach parking lot at 10400 Gulf Boulevard.