A local company has built a massive, 6-foot-tall sandcastle to welcome those traveling into Florida this season.
Beach Sand Sculpture used about 4 tons of sand to build the welcome inside the Florida Welcome Center on Interstate 10 on the outskirts of Pensacola this past weekend.
Owners Rick and Capri Mungeam worked for three days to complete the sculpture, which was created in partnership with Visit Florida.
Capri Mungeam said that the giant sandcastle aims to promote the Sunshine State and sandcastle lessons to the approximate 650,000 visitors who come through the I-10 Welcome Center every year.
“We actually align ourselves very well with Visit Florida’s whole mission,” she said. “As a tourism-based company, we utilize their hospitality training for our sandcastle coaches. Last year, one of our coaches won a random drawing with Visit Florida and that sparked the conversation for us doing a sand sculpture at the Visit Florida Welcome centers.”
Mungeam said that the sand sculpture within the center was sprayed with a special finish to keep it from drying out and collapsing.
“After the each sculpture is carved, we spray it with Weather Shield which is like an eggshell finish,” Mungeam said. “It’s one part Elmer’s glue and nine parts water, and it really helps to protect the sculpture.”
Mungeam said that she estimates this sand sculpture will hold up for an entire year.
“We are expecting it to last 10 to 12 months,” she said. “Last year we had built a sculpture in the Florida Keys that actually partially survived Hurricane Irma — we were really surprised.”
Beach Sand Sculptures offers sandcastle building lessons — the URL is promoted on the sandcastle in the center — to families and groups from Okaloosa Island to Inlet Beach, and Mungeam said she expects the company will teach more than 1,000 lessons in this upcoming season.
“People just love sandcastle lessons, it’s really just amazing,” she said. “It’s not just for children. The adults get to participate. We always say, ‘Sandcastles, delight the heart, intrigue the mind and capture our souls, everybody loves them.’”
For more information visit www.sandcastlelessons.info.