GOOD NEWS: Sandi, the holiday sand tree, will return to West Palm Beach this year!

The City of West Palm Beach is making plans to welcome back the star of its annual Holiday in Paradise campaign, Sandi, the world’s only 35-foot, 700-ton holiday sand tree. She will return to the waterfront on Saturday, December 5, 2020, for her 9th season.

Photo by Sue Traber, courtesy of the City of West Palm Beach

As in years past, there will be 100-tons of other sand sculptures to visit as well. New this year will be a synchronized show with the City’s soon-to-be-completed Centennial Square Fountain, where the water will ‘dance’ to the music. Sandi will be on display and host nightly music and light shows through New Year’s Eve, Thursday, December 31, 2020. The light shows run between 6 – 10 p.m.

While many Sandi Land staples are suspended this year, some have been modified to continue traditions, including a visit with Santa. Anticipated elements include:

  • Santa at Sandi  In true paradise fashion, Santa will be safely distanced in his lifeguard chair! His perch will be more than six feet in the air, and kids and families can safely gather for a photo opportunity at the bottom. City staff will encourage social distancing while families wait in line.
  • Sing-along and/or Storytime with Sandi – Families are welcome to gather at the foot of the Sandi tree for an unforgettable experience, as Sandi sings along or reads aloud. Reservations will be required for this free event, where socially distanced markers on the lawn will promote safety.
  • Surprise Pop-Up Entertainment – Unexpected entertainment elements will pop up throughout Sandi’s visit. Come often and stay alert so you don’t miss out on the festive and memory-making fun!

“Despite this year’s unprecedented challenges, the City of West Palm Beach has found a way to keep this holiday tradition alive, with plans in place to help our residents and visitors to celebrate safely,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James. “I applaud our Community Events Division, and I thank our event sponsors for helping to ensure the return of this beloved, iconic holiday happening. We hope everyone will keep up with their holiday traditions by joining us downtown for some (socially-distanced) holiday cheer.”

In order to comply with national, statewide, and local safety mandates, the City will skip the tree lighting ceremony and other coordinated events that typically draw larger crowds, such as the annual Sunday on the Waterfront Aloha Islanders show. Additionally, other high-touch activities, such as Glow FORE It Mini Golf, SnowieVille, and Sandi’s Dressing Room will be absent from the month-long holiday celebration.

Directives on facial coverings will be followed in accordance with Palm Beach County mandates at that time, and hand sanitizing stations will be placed throughout Sandi Land. Additionally, City staff and downtown security will monitor and encourage social distancing and sanitizing of high touch areas, such as the fence around Sandi.

“Though 2020 has been challenging, we weren’t about to let our beloved Sandi not star on the West Palm Beach Waterfront this holiday season,” said Mary Pinak, Community Events Manager for the City of West Palm Beach Department of Parks and Recreation. “Her return brings a sense of normalcy and hope for the holidays. Safety is top of mind, and as such we have made modifications to our traditional Holiday in Paradise offerings, but the main message is, ‘let’s celebrate, safely.’”

Sandi will return to the Great Lawn, which is at the east end of Clematis Street, just west of Flagler Drive. Parking is available in City of West Palm Beach garages. City garages are Clematis, Banyan, City Center, Sapodilla, and Evernia. Banyan and Evernia are the two closest garages. Those interested in arriving by boat can also take advantage of the City’s free public docks. The Clematis Street Dock is the closest dock to Holiday in Paradise.