Play in the sand at the fair with New Leash on Life

New Leash on Life – the nonprofit, animal welfare agency in Lebanon – plans to bring Sand in the City to the 2014 Wilson County Fair.
Jun 14, 2014


New Leash on Life – the nonprofit, animal welfare agency in Lebanon – plans to bring Sand in the City to the 2014 Wilson County Fair.

Sand in the City is a team-building, fundraising, sand sculpture competition founded by professional sand sculptor Bert Adams, of Portland, Ore., almost 20 years ago. Adams has conducted competitions across the western U.S. and in Central America, in cities such as his hometown, Olympia, Wash.; Omaha, Neb.; Iowa City, Iowa; Kansas City, Kansas and San Salvador, El Salvador.

“Sand in the City is the ultimate sand sculpture contest for companies, industries, churches, schools, student organizations, universities, etc.,” said New Leash on Life board president Angela Chapman, who saw it in action at an event in Bowling Green, Ky. “We were brainstorming about what type of major fundraising event we would like to have to benefit the animals at New Leash on Life, and I thought of this. Everyone at New Leash is thrilled about this unique opportunity.”

Chapman said when she started discussing locations with Amelia Morrison Hipps, New Lea-sh’s marketing and fundraising consultant, Hipps thought of having it at the Wilson County Fair.

Chapman and Hipps approached Wilson County Promotions President Hale Moss about the idea, and he was immediately onboard.

“The Wilson County Fair is all about involvement in the community, and the sand sculptures and the benefits Sand in the City will bring to NLOL is just another way our Fair mirrors our commitment to the people of Wilson County – whether they are two-legged or four-legged,” Moss said. “And it’s just going to be plain fun. Who doesn’t like playing the sand?” 

Teams are strongly encouraged, but not required, to tie their sculptures in with the fair’s theme of “Farmers, Boots and Country Roots” or the “Year of the Tomato,” according to Hipps.

New Leash on Life Executive Director Amy Haverstick was key to getting LoJac to donate the 8 tons of sand each team will need to create their sculptures Aug. 15, the first day of the fair.

“I can’t wait to see what each team’s design is,” Haverstick said. “When you consider over 500,000 people attend the Wilson County Fair each year, why wouldn’t you want your organization to have that kind of exposure? We do for New Leash on Life.”

“So far, we have seven teams signed up, and it’s not too late for more teams to join,” Hipps said. “However, they do need to join soon as their designs need to be submitted to Bert by June 30.”

Those committed to teams so far include Wilson County Schools, Embassy Suites at Nashville Airport, Advanced Signs/NLOL, LoJac, Coach’s EastGate Grill/PFG and Wholesale Inc.

Chapman said each team also has an architect or engineer assigned to them to assist with the design. Lebanon-based architects Mike Manous, president of Manous Design, and Jeff Hall, principal/architect of the Hall Group LLC Architecture and Planning, have both agreed to lend their design skills. But Chapman said a few more are welcome to join the fun.

Hipps said they also have a few top sponsorship levels still available – presenting, kid zone, adopt-a-pet and the medic tent. Each sponsorship level gets not only tremendous community exposure and team building experience, but also each one may enter a team in competition – except for the presenting sponsor that gets to have two teams in the competition.

“The presenting sponsor also has the honor of the competition being named after the company or organization,” Hipps said. 

Chapman said Coach’s EastGate Grille off of Highway 109 in Lebanon, along with PFG/Lester Food Group, will sponsor the kickoff party for the event Aug. 12.

“This is the time when teams get to meet each other and start challenging one another as to who is going to win the prizes,” she said, noting three will be awarded.

The judges’ awards and the best designer award will be presented on the first night of the fair at the conclusion of the sand sculpting competition. 

However, the coveted people’s choice award will be presented on the last day of the fair.

“Throughout the week of the fair, hundreds of thousands attendees will be able to come by, view the sculptures and by making donations, vote for their favorite,” Hipps said. “The team sculpture that raises the most money for the animals at New Leash on Life will have bragging rights for the next year.”

Adams will bring in a team of other professional sand sculptors to help teams the day of the build. On Aug. 16, this team of professionals will join forces to create a master sand sculpture.

Founded in 1995, Adams took his knowledge of sand sculpture contests, teaching sand sculpture techniques, ropes course team building and delivering publicity to sponsors and gave birth to Sand in the City.

He said he discovered shortly after starting the business that while the nonprofit organizations benefited from the fundraising aspect, the companies and organizations benefitted long-term because of the team building experience. 

“Groups who participate come away from a day of sand sculpting invigorated and with a fuller experience of themselves as part of a team,” he said.

Adams said the sense of teamwork and camaraderie that develops during a day of creative and physical exertion cannot be overstated.

While most of the time, Sand in the City competitions are held in cities over a weekend, Chapman said the draw of having the sculptures on display for nine-days intrigued Adams.

“Bert loved the idea of the sand sculptures being on display for over a week, plus it gives New Leash on Life, the Wilson County Fair, and all of the participating sponsors and teams tremendous public exposure both leading up to the event and during it,” Chapman said, adding that New Leash on Life has the exclusive rights to Sand in the City in the Middle Tennessee area for the next five years.

Adams said there are four major benefits to companies and organizations that participate.

“There is a human resources benefit that comes from the team building that occurs among employees. The companies receive publicity by making a sand billboard for their products or services, which will be seen by over 300,000 people at the largest fair in the state, not to mention extensive media coverage,” he said.

Additionally, Adams said by being involved with Sand in the City, they have hundreds of thousands of people see they are giving back to their community through their ties with New Leash on Life.

“And last, the contest is on a Friday. Where else would an employee like to be than playing in the sand? It’s a benefit that some companies use to reward certain employees for going the extra mile,” Adams said.

To read more about New Leash on Life’s Sand in the City, go to

For more information about becoming a sponsor, having a team or becoming a volunteer to help out with the event, contact either Chapman via email at or by phone at 615-418-7003 or Hipps via email at or by phone at 615-442-8667.


Log in or sign up to post comments.