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      Republican primary debate sand sculptures revealed

      The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau announced the details of the 2012 Republication Primary Debate 'Mount Myrtle' sand feature, located across the street from the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Hotel and Convention Center.

      Five sand sculptors finished the 525 ton sculpture in six days. It has three different elements.

      The central feature highlights the faces of all Republican presidential candidates participating in the debate. Another serves as a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his birthday. The third highlights Myrtle Beach as a premier vacation destination.

      "Some people use billboards to get their messages across, but we use one of our greatest natural resources as a destination: sand," said Brad Dean, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce/CVB. "With a national spotlight on Myrtle Beach, these sand features allow us to mix politics, a national holiday, and Myrtle Beach together in a unique and fun way."

      Team Sandtastic of Sarasota, Fla., in collaboration with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce/CVB, came up with the design concept and started construction on January 10.

      Team Sandtastic has sculpted sand projects for Myrtle Beach multiple times in the past, including the World's Tallest Sandcastle in 2007 and for two presidential primary debates held in January 2008.

      The sand for Mount Myrtle was provided by Carolina Sand and was locally-mined from just outside Conway.