Tide was early, but sand sculptures still ruled the beach

There were sea serpents, sea turtles, an alligator and more rising out of the sand Saturday at Walnut Beach for the annual Milford Fine Arts Council’s Sand Sculpture contest.
The tide came in well before event organizers planned, and one Fire Arts member said “the tide turned” unexpectedly, leaving some sand sculptors still working on their final details before Long Island Sound came in and finished their art projects.

But Valerie Intelisano, one of the organizers of the popular sand contest, stayed upbeat. “The tide came in earlier than expected, but all the judges got to see everything, and everyone did a great job.”
The top prize of the day went to the McCarvill family, for a creation they called “Anchors Away.”
Prizes were awarded in other categories, including friends and clubs, and individual categories.
Dorothy Osanitsch and her friends and family sculpted “Hulk Crush,” which was a rendering of the Incredible Hulk rising out of the sand.
“We were still working on it when the tide came in,” Osanitsch said as she waded through water to look at some of the other sand art.
Brad Conant took a prize for his sculpture, “Submarine Sandwich,” a creature rising out of the sand to grab a submarine.
While his was still standing as the tide came in, Conant said an incoming tide would have actually made his sculpture better because his design incorporated the water.
“I was trying to make it look like it was rising out of the water,” said Conant, an artist and sculptor. He was waiting for Long Island Sound to move in a little closer to add the water dimension to his artwork.
“The Seal,” by Alexandra Barbera, 14, with help from Nicholas Justus, 13, landed a prize too.
“We finished right before the tide came in,” said Alexandra.
This was her first year in the contest, and she said she decided to make a seal on the drive to the beach that morning.
Chloe Budzinski, 11, made a piggy bank that she called “A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned.” This is her fourth year entering the contest, and she won a prize for her large-bodied pig, topped with a relatively small head.
“Hers is still standing,” her mother Jennifer said as the tide lapped at her feet. “She picked a good spot.”
Emily Ferrucci built “Kayla the Dog” next to her friend Chloe’s piggy bank. Her dog was inspired by her Labrador, Coco, and the many puppies Coco brought into the world over the years.
“I was going to build a tree,” Emily said. “But I thought it might fall over.”
Kurt Johnson and his team of builders — Nikolas, 7, and Spencer Johnson, 4; Meredith Jessey, 14, and Jessica Thompson, 14 — created a sea serpent. They just finished the tail when the tide came in, so they didn’t get a lot of time to admire their work. But they all had fun, and sat in the sand crunching on snacks as they waited to hear who had won the contest.
There was a mermaid created by Sydney Oliveras, 9, Connor Oliveras, 6 and Alyssa Holm, 12. The mermaid was Sydney’s idea, because she likes them.
The winning sculptures are as follows:
People’s Choice: Anchors Away, the McCarvill family of Milford.
Friends and Clubs: Sea Island, by Branson group from Shelton; Lazy Sunday by Bishop, Rogers and O’Sullivan from North Haven, and Shamu by Steele and Abulhab of Milford.
Family: Big Mama by the Lakowski family of Milford, Turtle by the Morris family of Southington and Snowman Suntan by the Soderberg family of Cornwall.
Age 10 and under: The Alligator by Edward Platono of Milford, The Dog by Emily Ferrucci  of Wallingford and The Shark by Phoebe Fiore of Milford.
Age 11 to 16: Penny Saved is a Penny Earned by Chloe Budzinski of Milford and The Seal by Alex Barbara of Milford.
Age 17 and over: Blackhawk by Steve Warzel of Milford, Submarine Sandwich by Brad Conant and Dragons Heart by Ron Warzel.