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Oberlin readies for annual Chalk Walk

  • 062516-CHALKFEST-KB05

    Maddie Bernal, 7, of Elyria, colors her pavement square in wine and gold colored chalk in support of the Cleveland Cavaliers while her brother Jacob, 8, (BACK) chalks in his favorite cartoon characters, Calvin and Hobbes, on Saturday morning, June 25 during the 2016 Oberlin Chalk Walk.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE FILE

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OBERLIN — Oberlin’s 12th annual chalk walk will take place Saturday.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., participants will transform sidewalk squares all over downtown Oberlin into their own personal canvases, free of charge.

Organized by the Allen Memorial Art Museum, the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts, Oberlin Business Partnership, Oberlin Heritage Center and the Oberlin Public Library, the chalk walk continues to grow.

In 2016, nearly 1,000 people registered — and that’s just the number of people who attached their name to their own square. Overall, at least 3,000 people came to enjoy the day downtown and admire the work of others.

According to Janet Haar, executive director of the Oberlin Business Partnership, only 33 percent of the people who registered were from Oberlin. People came from all over the county and from as far as Columbus and Dayton.

Participants are asked to register so that the Oberlin Business Partnership can keep track of such statistics and give credit to the artists on display at oberlinchalkwalk.com.

Registration tables will be in front of Ben Franklin, New Union Center for the Arts, 39 S. Main St., and Hall Auditorium, 67 N. Main St., and just south of the Oberlin post office on Main Street.

Haar believes even more people will be drawn to this year’s event.

“Many people have told us that they have the event marked on their calendars already, or they say, ‘I’m gonna tell all my friends about this.’ It’s just a family-fun event, and the type of event people are looking for now more than ever,” she said.

Businesses downtown sure hope so. Haar estimates that thanks to the Chalk Walk, restaurants double what they usually make on a typical Saturday, while other shops do about 10 percent to 20 percent better.

All that is asked of participants is that they bring their imaginations, have fun and stay safe. Additionally, it is asked that unused chalk is returned to the registration desks.

Each year $600 to $800 is spent on chalk, which is provided to those who register.

Why so expensive?

“We don’t purchase children’s chalk. We get the good stuff. And because blacks and reds typically have to be ordered separately, that also increases that total cost,” Harr said.

Should it rain, the event will be postponed until Sunday.

Contact Alexis Dill at 329-7155 or ctnews@chroniclet.com.

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