Sarasota News Leader

08/30/2013

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Sarasota News Leader August 30, 2013 Page 83 Siesta Seen One new feature for the SKCC this year, he continued, would be the company sponsorship of each team of sculptors. The company or individual's name will be very visible at the front of every sculpting team's plot of sand, he added. 'It's a very profitable event for our charity," Wigelsworth pointed out, and it brings in a lot of money to the community. The beneficiary of the Crystal Classic is Mote Marine Lab's Sea Turtle Rescue Program and sea turtle conservation efforts. Kevin Cooper, executive director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, told SKVA members that because Visit Sarasota County — the community's tourism office — provides grant funds to promote the Crystal Classic outside the area, organizers have to show a return on investment. Interviews with attendees and other market research undertaken to fulfill that requirement have indicated that of the approximately 30,000 people who have attended the competition each of the past three years, about half have traveled to the county from other parts of Florida and other states, Cooper said. Fossil Fuel won top honors in the 2012 Crystal Classic. Contributed photo by Peter Acker

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