New sand-sculpture fest envisioned for Lake George Village

LAKE GEORGE - A marketing professional is seeking to launch a sand-sculpting festival in Lake George Village this summer that would bring master sculptors and thousands of visitors to the area.

Ida Williams of Argyle, who works as marketing manager of Fort William Henry Resort, outlined her plans Monday, soon after her application for county funds was submitted.

"It's a fun event that would generate a lot of interest and attract new visitors to Lake George," she said.

She's been planning the event for this summer in conjunction with master sand-sculptor Greg Grady of Hampton Beach, NH. Her initial plans call for the event to be held July 9 through 11.

Williams said she'd be bringing about 10 master sculptors to the event, who would fashion massive sand creations, abstract or representational, some whimsical, others serious art, that would not only intrigue the public, but be judged in a competition.

The towering sand sculptures, weighing an average of five tons or more, would be judged by both a panel of artists and the public.

The festival, which would be held over three days, would include children's activities, sand-sculpting lessons from professionals, a variety of entertainment, and vendors.

Williams said that proceeds from the event, which would include an admission charge, would go to a regional SPCA group, and the fest might include pet shows or demonstrations.

Both Hampton Beach and Fort Myers Fla. already have successful, well-attended sand-sculpting competitions, she said.

Envisioned to be held annually, the event would be centered on the town festival grounds of the former Gaslight Village property.

Williams applied to Warren County for $50,000 from occupancy tax receipts, citing that her event would likely fill up hundreds of motel and hotel rooms for several days, or 1,600 room-nights. The county traditionally grants $2,000 to $20,000 to qualifying fledgling events, all with the aim of boosting tourism.

Warren County collected a record $3.4 million of bed tax this year, and about $340,000 of it is earmarked to promote events.

As of Monday, about 20 people or groups applied to the county for grants from the bed tax. County Supervisors were scheduled to convene Wednesday to make decisions on which proposals to bankroll.

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