Michigan City festival mixes music, food and sand | Michigan City News
MICHIGAN CITY — This weekend’s Oktoberfest in Washington Park features live music at one end of the festival, sand sculpting lessons at the other end and vendors in between.
The sand sculpting lessons echo the city’s first Singing Sands sand sculpting festival three months ago.
Professional sculptor Janet Moore Schrader, owner of Sand Pirate in Lakeside, Michigan, spoke about her lessons while working on a dragon she named Doug on Saturday.
Normally she charges $300 for a two-hour lesson, she said, but the city paid her to provide free lessons at the festival.
“I’ve been teaching sand sculpting for about 17 years,” Schrader said, mostly between Warren Dunes in southwest Michigan and Indiana Dunes.
Before COVID-19, it was his full-time job. “I teach multiple generations how to play together,” she said.
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If you think children are its main customers, think again. “I’ve taught more adults than I’ve taught children,” she says. “They want to be king and queen of sand castles and impress their grandkids.”
“Some of my favorite sculpting tools are spatulas and cake spoons,” she said. A brush is also useful.
Schrader demonstrated how to use a toy shovel to make a staircase, one step at a time.
She started her business after being diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “I looked like a pirate. I had an eye patch on, I was bald, my throat was slit. This is how Sand Pirate became the name of his company.
“I tried the business with all the other activities unplugged,” Schrader said, but sand sculpting was the most popular. “2006 was the first time I got paid to play in the sand.”
“I actually teach how to storm a castle at the end of the two-hour lesson. That’s the best part of building a sandcastle,” she said.
Chris Goodin, of Walled Lake, Michigan, has worked on the carnival circuit in all 50 states. He now operates his own carnival business, with everyone winning a prize whether or not they are strong enough to ring the bell with their hammer.
Kayla Ware, from LaPorte, helped her friend Sara Noé, also from LaPorte, sell Noé’s books and drawings.
“She’s the talent, I’m the charisma,” Ware joked.
“Miss Noah here is a two-time award-winning science fiction author,” Ware proudly said. Noah is working on the third book in his seven-book series featuring Cato as the only half-human, half-ghost hybrid in his books.
Noé dressed up as Cato to promote her books at the festival.
“When they find out that I’m a local author and a local artist, they get a little excited,” Noé said.
Michigan City’s Randy Dumas opened Hot Rod Snow Cones in June and has been touring the festival circuit ever since. Blue raspberry and tiger blood are the most popular snow cone flavors, he said.
“We have nothing but a great reception,” he said.
Sofa King Revolution drummer Scott Engwert of Michigan City performed at the festival with bandmates Lee Scott and Joe Covington. The rock and roll group formed five years ago. All three are old friends from high school.
Patrick and Chantiel Thornton of LaPorte enjoyed the people-watching and free live music on Saturday. “You see funny things about funny people,” he said.
Kasia and Jon Dietz, of Melrose Park, Illinois, brought their pet birds Edward, a Moluccan cockatoo; Ruby, a green-winged macaw; and Coolek, an umbrella cockatoo. “We travel with them everywhere because they need love, they need attention,” he said.
“They like to be outside,” he said. All three birds are rescue pets.
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