CLEARWATER, Fla. — It’s one of the biggest draws to Clearwater Beach post-spring break.

“This past weekend, we had a huge crowd.  We actually broke a record on Saturday with one of the hugest crowds the festival has ever had,” said Jason Beisel of the City of Clearwater.

But when Friday’s rough weather moved on shore, all of these amazing sand sculptures were at risk.

“Sand and wind -- it doesn’t mix very well,” said Beisel.  “We want to make sure we keep this and not some weather blow through.”

That’s why every year event organizers invest in a 20,000-square-foot, specially retrofitted tent capable of withstanding hurricane-force winds.

“The worst-case scenario is you get a huge squall line that actually produces a waterspout,” said Beisel. “That’s one of the worst things that could happen to us, but luckily, we escaped it.  We followed the weather reports and made sure we were prepared for what was coming.”

The fact that nothing was damaged was amazing news for Clearwater’s Pam Maturo, who brought family visiting from Wisconsin.

“I’m happy everything survived,” said Maturo.  “It is amazing! It's good the tent is sturdy.”

Friday’s thunderstorms made way for windy conditions, forcing the closure of the Sugar Sand Festival’s VIP tent and the cancellation of a concert.

But despite all the swaying, the Sugar Sand Festival was able to reopen Friday evening with expectations for a very busy weekend.

The festival runs through April 28. For more information, you can visit the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival’s website.

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