During Monday’s meeting, county commissioners briefly discussed the possibility of merging the annual Sand-Sculpting Festival with the chamber’s Fun Fest, an idea we support 100 percent.
The Sand-Sculpting Festival started in 2010 thanks to grants from BP. Those grants are no longer available, and as we’ve mentioned before, Tourist Development Director Julie Morgan is requesting $80,000 to fund this year’s event. The money would be split, however: $45,000 would fund the festival and $35,000 would pay for a full-time employee to coordinate such events.
TDC members knew the grant money wouldn’t be available this year, and last summer they discussed adding to the festival’s lineup with a children’s area, live music and maybe even fireworks.
A children’s area, live music and fireworks? You mean like Fun Fest? Sounds like a great idea. Rather than have two separate events, the groups can join forces to create one amazing event for Navarre residents with the goal of drawing people from surrounding areas.
Fun Fest is a community staple and just wrapped up its 31st year. With vendor booths, a play area, plenty of food and two days of musical talent, it seems the two would be a nice fit. The Sand-Sculpting Festival would benefit from visitors who look forward to Fun Fest each year, and Fun Fest would be able to offer another dimension to its schedule.
Sand-sculpting events aren’t unique to Navarre. In fact, Pensacola is hosting one this weekend as part of its annual Fiesta of Five Flags. If Navarre included the sand-sculpting event as part of Fun Fest, it increases the chance to drive tourism. As a standalone event, it could be viewed as just another bunch of sand castles.
The county and Navarre, as well as the chamber, have a good opportunity to work together and create something bigger and better than before.