Sandcastle Kick-off Breakfast; Group Seeks to Raise $175k

Boulders in the foreground frame an early spring shot of the Revere Beach, with duck swimming in the surf, and the large Carabetta building forming the backdrop during low tide last Friday afternoon.

It’s hard to think about sandcastles in March, but that’s what was on everyone’s mind at the kickoff breakfast last Thursday for the New England Sandsculpting Festival.

Organizers, City officials, donors and members of the Partnership gathered at the Comfort Inn for the breakfast and had the first discussions about this year’s festival, which will take place on July 12-15 this year.

However, the main goal of the meeting was to raise money so that the event could be held.

Partnership Executive Director Ernie Garneau told the crowd that their fundraising goal is $175,000 this year. Garneau said that the word has spread like wildfire about the event, stretching even to the far reaches of the world.

“I can tell you that I got a call from Alaska Magazine and they told me they were previewing our festival in their magazine as one of the best things to do in the summer on the East Coast,” he said. “When I heard that Alaska knew about us, I knew we had some real momentum.”

So far, several sponsors have stepped up to the plate, he said, including Global Oil, which upped their contribution from $10,000 to $15,000 this year.

Other returning sponsors include Suffolk Downs, the MWRA and a host of others.

Garneau said that the event actually gets more media coverage than most realize, pointing to a radio piece by National Public Radio.

“How many people do you think heard that NPR piece?” he asked rhetorically. “It was about 20 million people that heard it because it was very popular and they ran it several times. The coverage is way more than what you would think.”

Garneau said that this year has been much better for fundraising than in previous years, when the economy was totally in the tank.

“Our target is $175,000; that is what we need to make this go. This is what we need,” he said. “Sponsorship is up this year for events. It’s much better than it was. Corporate sponsors had dropped out for a while and now they are coming back. I think that trend is going to carry over to us.”

The event was put on by Conventures, which will be handling the marketing of the Festival for the second year.

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