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Sand sculptor spreads joy with castles across the Panhandle

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 7:50 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - They say building a house on the sand isn’t ideal, so good thing Dan Anderson is only building castles.

”Enjoying the beach, playing in the sand,” said Anderson.

It’s Dan’s passing of the sands of time, building sand castles. This time he was at St. Andrews State Park working on a castle with “Spread Joy Like Glitter” carved in the middle.

Dan Anderson poses with his sand sculpture at St. Andrews State Park.
Dan Anderson poses with his sand sculpture at St. Andrews State Park.(WJHG)

“When the sun is up I’m like itching to get out here, it’s such a beautiful day,” said Anderson.

He has built a business on sand. A one-man operation called “Dan Castles.”

“Everything is cheap and free,” said Anderson.

And cheap overhead is important when you’re as busy as Dan. He teaches sand castle building classes to the young and old. As well as building castles for events, birthdays, wedding proposals and more. Working on beaches from Pensacola all the way East to Panama City.

A marriage proposal sand sculpture created by Dan Anderson.
A marriage proposal sand sculpture created by Dan Anderson.(Dan Anderson)

“Every chance I got I was on the beach building for fun,” said Anderson. “Then it just kind of evolved into a career from there.”

But getting here took trading in the ice for sand, moving down from Michigan to Miramar Beach with his friend.

“And they had on Craig’s List called be a sand castle coach,” said Anderson.

So, he started with a local sand sculpting business.

“My first year there I actually made an eight-foot version of the Eiffel Tower,” said Anderson.

Dan Anderson's Eiffel Tower sand sculpture.
Dan Anderson's Eiffel Tower sand sculpture.(Dan Anderson)

Then he decided to carve his own path and sculptures.

“I do a lot of this on my own because I really love being personable in my business.”

It digs deep in his past, graduating to the beach from the sandbox.

“My neighbor still tags me in a post almost every year of me buried up to the ears in a sand box and saying more sand! So ever since I was a little kid I loved playing in the sand,” said Anderson.

Dan Anderson at home in Michigan as a child playing in the sand.
Dan Anderson at home in Michigan as a child playing in the sand.(Dan Anderson)

But for a guy making a living off the sand, it’s about more.

“It’s nothing for me to come out here and play in the sand and spread this joy. You know how many families are going to come look at this and take pictures after we leave,” said Anderson.

Even if he doesn’t make a dime, it’s time well spent.

“Spreading more positivity honestly, that’s what it is all about for me is spreading that joy,” said Anderson.

So, even though it’s not advised, he’s building his foundation on the sand and it’s as good as any.

“Sand castles bring an amount of joy to people you really can’t get anywhere else,” said Anderson.

You can find more about Dan’s sand services at https://dancastles.com/

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