200 Tons of Indoor Beach Fun This Weekend

Sand delivery barely makes it

When you have a warehouse with a quarter-million square feet of space, you wouldn’t imagine that one or two inches could make much of a difference.

But on Tuesday afternoon, artist and event organizer Dan Das Mann was a few inches away from having to turn dump truck driver Robert Kenny away.

Kenny showed up to the American Steel building at 1960 Mandela Parkway in Oakland around noon Friday with the first of 10 20-ton deliveries of sand for a massive fundraiser party Das Mann and crew are throwing today with a beach theme called “Sand by the Ton.”

There are so many people and groups involved in this fundraiser/party, that there are no less than seven completely different fliers floating around the Bay Area and on many of them there is a claim that party-goers can frolic around in “Oakland’s Newest Beach” where 200 tons of sand will surround five swimming pools in just one of many rooms at the event.

Foxcover Trucking driver Robert Kenny walked with Dan Das Mann through the huge, cavernous six-acre warehouse filled with disassembled remnants of large-scale art pieces from past Burning Man events to a small 10-foot wide cut out in the side of the building that opens onto a new space Das Mann has recently taken over.

Kenny looked at the opening, which looks even smaller considering how much space is all around, and Das Mann showed how he thought the best way to maneuver the 60-foot long truck and trailer would be as Kenny watched and listened, always smiling, wheels turning.

I asked Kenny how wide his truck is and he said ten feet.  Looking at the hole in the building he said, “I don’t think that’s ten feet” in his thick Irish accent, with a laugh and a shoulder shrug seemingly confident that they’d somehow figure it out.

Next to the hole in the wall was world-renowned sand artist Kirk Rademaker of Santa Cruz who has been brought in to design and build one of his sand sculptures, this one looking like a beautiful sand castle of nuts and bolts with the end product to look something like a rear derailleur from a bicycle, assuming Kenny’s truck doesn’t knock the whole thing down.

A few pieces of wood from the bottom form of Rademaker’s sculpture were sticking out into the hole jeopardizing the 20 hours of work already invested in the half finished sculpture.  Rademaker quickly cut them off as Kenny made multiple attempts in and out of the hole trying to thread the needle just right.

Once the truck, trailer and wall opening were finally aligned, Kenny slowly backed the trailer into the “Sand Room” having to stop to unscrew his side mirrors for final clearance.

A group of people working on party preps gathered as word spread around the warehouse that the first shipment of sand was about to be dropped.

After successfully squeezing through the opening, Kenny now had to position the trailer just right within the smaller warehouse because overhead clearance was again down to the inches, with the top of the trailer bumping into the light fixtures attached to the ceiling.

Subtle cheers erupted as the first bits of sand hit the warehouse floor, with everyone realizing that this scenario has to be repeated nine more times before Saturday’s 4 p.m. door opening.

After the trailer came down, Dan Das Mann and partner Karen Cusolito jumped up into the back to scoop out the last bits of sand before jumping off the truck and onto the pile.  Fun’s over, back to work.

For more information about the event, check their website: http://www.thebigartexperience.com/  $20 tickets have sold-out, but $25 advanced tickets are still available with tickets at the door costing $30.

There are too many things going on to mention, but here’s what I’m most looking forward to:  The Mermen, Extra Action Marching Band, Vau De Vire Society, Gooferman, Polkacide, Eric McFadden, Opulent Temple, Space Cowboys, The Flaming Lotus Girls, K.S.W., and Cyclecide Heavy Pedal Bike Rodeo as well as a carnival midway, and of course, the beach.

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