This weekend, a corner of downtown Buffalo will be transformed into a playground for all ages.
On Saturday and Sunday, ChalkFest Buffalo! invites artists of all ability to draw on the sidewalks of Buffalo with chalk, decorating the area on Main Street at Fountain Plaza between Huron and Chippewa streets. The fourth annual event will offer food vendors and trucks, live music, face painters, street performers and chalk-drawing contests from noon to 6 p.m. on both days.
“We developed the idea for ChalkFest to initiate more involvement and more awareness of the 500 block of Main Street,” said Don Warfe, co-chairman of the festival. “We had gotten a lot of bad press about the vacant buildings and we wanted to create a family-friendly event.”
Free reserved squares for drawing are available through chalkfestbuffalo.com, but they aren’t necessary as there will be “free draw” space provided for those who do not reserve squares. If adult and young adult participants choose to reserve a 6-foot-by-6-foot square, they will be automatically entered into the festival competition judged by Elizabeth Licata, editor of Buffalo Spree magazine; Laura Daniels, Mix 96 DJ; and John Volpe, a co-chairman of the festival. The children’s squares (3 feet-by-3 feet) are not competitive, and all child participants will receive a prize.
This year, ChalkFest’s theme is “Superheroes and Villains,” but artists are welcome to draw whatever they like. In the “Kids Zone,” character-themed snacks will be provided as well as other games and activities for children. There is also a storybook section of the festival where 10 local artists will create a 10-panel chalk storybook on the sidewalk to be narrated multiple times a day by ChalkFest’s storyteller Adam Harrison.
“Superheroes are pretty hot right now with all the action movies that are coming out,” Warfe said. “I just thought it would be a fun theme.”
Each year ChalkFest donates all proceeds from vendor fees and T-shirt sales to a local organization geared toward children. This year, the beneficiary is Explore and More Children’s Museum (300 Gleed Ave., East Aurora).
“This is a completely free family-friendly festival. We have games and activities. Every child receives a prize, and we supply all the chalk,” Warfe said. “They can just come down and find an open space and have fun.”
What: Chalkfest Buffalo!
When: Noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: 500 block of Main Street near Fountain Plaza