Final Touches Also Underway On Massive Sand SculptureBy Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The tents are up and so is the stage. And that’s just the beginning. Preparations are well underway for Friday’s opening of the Three Rivers Regatta.

The Ferris wheel is up, standing ready to spin riders through a dazzling panoply of light. But for many, the massive yet meticulous sand sculpture is the best part of all. Sandsational Sand Sculpting is back.

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Co-owner Jill Harris says this year’s design celebrates the Regatta’s 40th anniversary.

“What we wanted to do is show a crowd of people who are watching the races. So you’ll see the rides in the background and the boats coming under the bridges,” Harris said. “And on either side, you’ll see the crowds of people watching the race.”

They begin with 150 tons of river sand. Sculptors start at the top, and work their way down. Sand sculpting is an evolutionary process. First, they have the roughing in of the figure, then the refinement, and finally, the finished product. It is a continuous process.

Harris says when the Regatta comes to an end, the sculpture comes down.

“Really, it’s just temporary art,” Harris said. “It’s meant to be enjoyed just for the moment.”

Many regatta-goers are looking forward to a brand new event that’s popular all over the world.

Fabulous flights of fancy known as Flugtags have thrilled spectators worldwide. Teams delight in constructing flying machines that match the personalities of their towns and cities.

And now, the stage is set for Pittsburgh’s very first Red Bull Flugtag at the Three Rivers Regatta.

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What could be more Pittsburgh than a Flying Pittsburgh Parking Chair?

Dave Celfo is the chief yinzeneer of a semi-secret project taking shape in his Lawrenceville garage. His navigational plan is… unusual.

“It’s not going to stay aloft,” he explains. “It’s going to drop. It’s going to drop fast. And it’s going to gain distance really fast. At least we hope so.”

The flying parking chair is constructed of “aerodynamic” materials.

“The main frame is in resin. Vacuum packed. The whole fuselage has been widened up by drilling holes through it. The wings are made of foam, the same way you’d make a surfboard.”

In addition to distance, teams get points for performance. Team member John Chamberlain says the parking chair crew plans a “snow shovel drill team.”

“If you remember the movie ‘Stripes,’ the boom-chucka-lucka, boom-chucka-lucka. So it’s boom-chucka-lucka, boom-chucka-lucka. And actually what’s real interesting is that our music is a polka. So the three-step goes right along right into a polka. It’s perfect,” he said.

How could they lose?

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