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Monday, May 2, 2016

Chalk art contest is big fun

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chalk art like the birds above could decorate the courthouse square when the Sidewalk Chart Art Bash comes to Greencastle this fall. The Putnam County Convention and Visitors' Bureau is sponsoring the project, and received a $500 donation presented by International Automotive Component Corp., represented by John Lanie (center). CVB Director Karla Lawless (right) and assistant director Sharon Eiteljorge accepted the donation. Courtesy photo
From a swimsuit-wearing frog hanging ten on a surf board to a fearless knight defending his castle from an onslaught of fire-breathing dragons, visitors to the city of Fort Wayne's annual Chalk Walk are apt to see just about anything.

Participants in the sidewalk-painting contest are given a bucket of chalk and a section of concrete and have two days to create a design of their choice. Prizes are awarded for the best three-dimensional image, best historical image and the people's choice award.

The Fort Wayne Museum of Art has been hosting the event for the past eight years and it has grown to more than 500 contestants, according to information from the show's website.

Putnam County tourism officials, who are hoping to host a similar event here in September, attended the Fort Wayne show last weekend and shared their experience with members of the tourism board Tuesday night.

"This was just awesome," CVB Director Karla Lawless said.

Lawless and her assistant Sharon Eiteljore said they had no idea what to expect when they attended the show. But they were impressed to find a major event that draws visitors from across Indiana and surrounding states and attracts local media attention.

"These people didn't just come with little buckets of chalk," Lawless said, adding that some contestants pulled wagons full of supplies and were very experienced. "It was one awesome place."

In addition to the chalk art contest, the city hosts an artisans' fair and parade, which Lawless estimated attracted 20,000 people. Many of those people stayed in area hotels and patronized local businesses and restaurants -- something Lawless hopes could happen here when Greencastle hosts its own event on Sept. 29.

While she doesn't think 20,000 people will show up for the first Greencastle event, she does hope the local community will help support it.

"If we could get 50 (contestants) here, I'll be tickled to death," she said.

Greencastle's Chalk Art Bash is set to take place around the downtown square with proceeds from the event going to support local charity Return-A-Gift.

Lawless said she has been pleased with the local support from businesses and organizations so far and is looking for more sponsors. Her list of prizes has grown exponentially since it began a few months ago.

Anyone interested in being a contestant or who wants more information is asked to contact the county tourism bureau at 653-8743.

To view a picture gallery of the chalk art designs from the 2006 Fort Wayne contest, visit the website www.fwmoa.org/ events/chalkwalk.

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