Virginia Beach, Va. (WVEC) -- Controversy at the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival has event officials looking to change regulations for a sand sculpting event.
This comes after one group used their sculpture to promote its side of the already hot button topic of the light rail.
The sculpture read “Please Vote ‘No’ for Light Rail.”
"Someone had erased the words,” said Jimmy Frost, media relations for the anti-light rail group.
Frost said the group found out a Neptune Festival worker not only erased the words, but also got rid of an informative sign integrated into the display.
"Apparently free speech isn't allowed at the Neptune Festival," Frost said.
Becky Bump, media relations for the festival, said the event had no intentions of taking away free speech. Bump said the worker erased the words on his own terms after knowing the festival’s stance on politically motivated displays.
“As the world continues to change, we don’t want to be a political arm for anybody,” Bump said. “It would have been the same way if it was the ‘Yes’ group that made a display.”
The worker will not face disciplinary action, Bump said.
Bump said the individual who applied in the competition did not state they were a part of the anti-light rail group, and that’s how the person got away with the act.
“It should have been handled differently, but it wasn’t,” said Bump.
The sculpture was re-constructed and will stay up since there is no written rule against political stances in the amateur competition guidelines.
Bump said the festival board will look to change those guidelines for next year.