On Saturday morning July 4th 2020, the sun finally came out after a week of rain. And over 179 households in our neighborhood walked out their own front doors and created safely with chalk on the sidewalks and driveways in front of their own homes. Neighbors of all ages joined in, from toddlers to elders and from beginners to professional artists. Some grandparents invited their grandchildren to come over to do the actual kneeling on the ground. Several whole blocks cooperated to run vines, garlands and activity-prompts down the length of a block. Flower stands, garden starts, produce, home-sewn face masks, pottery, wood turning, paintings, puppets and other neighborhood creations blossomed.
Some neighborhood schools and churches offered their sidewalks in case folks didn’t have their own sidewalk to use. An ice cream truck visited. At least 22 neighbors offered Front Porch “Lawn”-certs with a wide variety of music scattered around the ‘hood. We chalked all morning, and then became our own Fourth Of July Parade as everyone went for a walk around the neighborhood to see the flowering of all this joyful creativity. With 100 blocks in our neighborhood, even the walkers were safely distanced. You can see the map below of all the sign-ups, and then lots of photos of the delightful results.
We gave away over $650 worth of chalk, and donations covered it all, including $300 from the Eldridge Society For History And Preservation! Computer programers, graphic artists, video producers, photographers, local luminaries and dignitaries, and many more donated time and effort towards this first-time event. Other neighborhoods, and towns across the state (and beyond) are now planning their own ChalkFests. We’ll do it again next year!