With an expected completion date of Labor Day, Camp Sunshine volunteers are attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s tallest sand castle with a 35-foot dragon sculpted on the shore of Sebago Lake in Casco.

Sculptor Ed Jarrett of Falmouth, who currently holds the record for a 29-foot, 3-inch cone-shaped castle he completed on June 30, 2003, is the artist behind the mythical monument.

Jarrett is the president of Maine Snow and Ice Sculpting Foundation and was in charge of the snow sculptures at this winter’s Maine WinterFest & Derby held at Point Sebago Resort in Casco. The main benefitciary of the derby is Camp Sunshine, a nonprofit retreat for children with life threatening illnesses and their families, which is located adjacent to Point Sebago.

“We had such a great experience over there, intertwining with the families, I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could get involved,'” said Jarrett.

He said the sculpture will take a million pounds of sand to complete. Camp Sunshine workers are asking donors to “buy” each pound of sand for them, making it a seven-digit fundraising project.

“Our intent with the sand castle is not only to raise funds,” said Michael Smith, director of special events at the charity. “But also to create more awareness and allow those unfamiliar with Camp Sunshine to learn a little more about what we do here.

He said the world record twist helps fundraising projects get more notoriety. Last fall, Camp Sunshine erected 30,128 jack-o’-lanterns at Boston Commons, the largest grouping of hollowed gourds on record. Smith said he feels confident that his organization will capture this record as well.

“Of course, the challenge is it all has to be done by hand,” he said. “You can’ t have mechanical equipment in there.”

Certain rules need to be followed to qualify for the Guinness World Record. The sculpture can only be built of sand and water and its base cannot exceed the height.

“Every particle of sand has to be brought in by hand,” said Ashley Riley, events coordinator for Camp Sunshine.

The finished sculpture also needs to be measured by an engineer or surveyor. Smith said Sebago Technics engineering firm of Westbrook has agreed to confirm the height for the official record.

Serious construction measures

“Everyone’s always confused, ‘how come it doesn’t fall down?'” said Jarrett. He said the secret is in the type of sand used for the project.

“All the grains are sharp, and they interlock like a puzzle,” he said. Jarrett said all the sand being used comes from P&K Sand & Gravel in Naples. He said the sharp-edged sand was created when glaciers traveled over rocks and ground them down. A layer of earth protected the sand from the elements which would have smoothed out the grains like beach sand.

Hancock Lumber provided the first 25 dump truck loads of sand to the shore next-door at Camp Sebago. Volunteers carried the sand, one bucket at a time, to a large wooden octagon frame. The sand inside the wooden forms was then mixed with water and tamped down.

“This is basically crushed rock, and we’re making it back into rock,” said Riley. She said the finished result will be a stone-hard material that will be strengthened, not weakened, by rain.

She said only something like thunder, which would cause the ground to move, or vandalism would harm the compressed sand structure.

The sand is still being brought in and new, smaller octagon forms are being placed on top of filled ones like a Mayan pyramid.

Special Events Director Smith said once the rocklike structure is carved down into a dragon, they will send Guinness officials evidence, including videos, expert testimonials and log books of all the volunteers.

“You send them enough proof and it becomes indisputable,” he said.

The sculpture is expected to be completed around Labor Day. Smith said Camp Sunshine is still looking for donors and adult volunteers to work in the sand-moving bucket brigade.

“We need help from people willing to take a day off from work to come out in the sun and play in the sand,” said Smith.

“It’s sand-tastic,” he added, explaining that his 4-year-old daughter came up with that pun.

SunshineSandCastle01: Camp Sunshine Events Coordinator Ashley Riley stands on one of the lower rungs of the wooden form that houses compressed sand in Casco. Once the sand is built up to 35 feet it will be carved into a dragon to win the Guinness World Record for the world’s tallest sandcastle.SunshineSandCastle02 Camp Sunshine Events Coordinator Ashley Riley stands with a small-scale mock up of the 35-foot dragon her organization is building to win the Guinness World Record for the world’s tallest sandcastle.SunshineSandCastle03: Sculptor Ed Jarrett of Falmouth works on a small-scale mock up of the 35-foot dragon he plan to carve win the Guinness World Record for the world’s tallest sandcastle. The wooden structure in back is being used to compress the sand for the large sand dragon.SunshineSandCastle04-06: Camp Sunshine olunteers will scoop, wet, and compress 1,000,000 lbs. of sand into a rocklike form to try to capture the Guinness World Record for the worlds largest sandcastle.SunshineSandCastle04-06: Camp Sunshine olunteers will scoop, wet, and compress 1,000,000 lbs. of sand into a rocklike form to try to capture the Guinness World Record for the worlds largest sandcastle.SunshineSandCastle04-06: Camp Sunshine olunteers will scoop, wet, and compress 1,000,000 lbs. of sand into a rocklike form to try to capture the Guinness World Record for the worlds largest sandcastle.


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