CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — The Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival kicks off Friday in Clearwater. The event is back after a two-year hiatus from the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the thunderstorms gave organizers a run for their money Thursday, the event will go on as planned.

The sand sculptures are all intact and sculptors are hard at work under a 21,000 square-foot tent. It can withstand 90 mph winds which shielded the works of art from Thursday’s storms.

“Our main exhibit structure is very secure we have buttoned up all the hatches, so there’s no water or wind getting inside,” Creative Director Morgan Synder said.

Even though heavy rain poured down and gusty winds blew through Clearwater Beach, it did not disrupt the 14 sculptors from around the world who are making final touches to their masterpieces ahead of the Festival.

“This year’s theme is “Sandimals, an animal adventure.” The sand artists are bringing animals to life through just sand and water.

“With the water and compaction of the sculptures themselves, they are staying pretty well intact in their natural habitat,” Synder added.

The festival kicks off Friday at 10 a.m. and runs through April 24. Tickets go fot $12.