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ChalkFest History

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Our first ever ChalkFest at the Great Northern Bike Shop and surrounding park. 2013

In 2016, more than 5,500 people joined The Arts Partnership at the Red River Zoo for our fourth annual ChalkFest. Want to see more? Check out our 2016 ChalkFest video.

Read my reflection on the event.

Highlights include:

  • Visiting chalk artist Marcus Dunn was brought in from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Read about his week of chalk art. And read about the impact that he made in the metro.
  • Having the band Save Me CJ play.
  • Bringing nine local artists to draw large chalk drawings outside the Zoo so that people were immersed in the arts before they even walked into the Zoo to make their own.
  • Inviting arts nonprofits to set up tables and meet with visitors to the zoo for ChalkFest.
  • Meeting guests, Ronald McDonald made an appearance, much to the delight of many guests.
  • Hosting the largest, free art-making event in the metro where people from all walks of life and from strollers to wheelchairs were there to enjoy the day.

The Arts Partnership thanks our ChalkFest 2016 Sponsors:

  • McDonald’s
  • Rhonda and Bernie Ness
  • The Red River Zoo
  • The Anjali Lall Memorial Fund
  • Livewire Media
  • Arctic Audio
  • Gate City Bank
  • Midco Foundation
  • Xcel Energy
  • Rotary West and AMFM Rotary Clubs

A History of ChalkFest in Our Community:

In 2015, 3,000 people joined us for ChalkFest at The Red River Zoo. Watch our video to see how much fun we had!

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ChalkFest 2015 was the largest art making event in our community’s history! Despite less than perfect weather, we still had over 3,000 people in attendance throughout the day.

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Participants discovered plenty to do at the zoo. Free art was a favorite, with airbrush body painting and caricature drawings by AliKat Studios hosting an eager line most of the day. Animal lovers enjoyed Zookeeper Chats with live animals, and the petting zoo was packed all day.

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Art making was everywhere, from the chalk competition, to the all abilities chalking area on the otter enclosure, to the Fargo Flag design competition. Chalk artists filled the zoo with creativity on the rocks, walls, and even trash bins!
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For those wanting to wiggle, there were free yoga classes and Inspire Innovation Lab offered human size bubble making.

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Dancing donning umbrellas to live music from Bunyan Land Beach Band and The Carluster Crumplebee Orchestra made everyone feel like a kid. Folks enjoyed fabulous food vendors, including Rhombus Guys, One-on-One Ribs and Gigi’s Ice Lollies. It was a truly memorable day for everyone who came out. We can’t wait for ChalkFest 2016!

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Some of the feedback we received from people who attended include:

“Loving my first chalk art festival!!! What a cool event!!”

“Just left ChalkFest with my 4 year old and 9 month old. This was our first year, and I guarantee we won’t miss it again! Thank you for such a WONDERFUL event!”

“This was SO much fun! We have such a beautiful zoo in Fargo, and a wonderfully vibrant arts community.”

“I’m happy to read there will be upright chalk drawing at ChalkFest. I might bring my disabled stepson then. We’re really restricted by his needs, so it’s nice to know he can participate.”

Thank You to Our 2015 ChalkFest Sponsors and our Advocate Partners of ChalkFest!

  • McDonald’s of Fargo Moorhead
  • Alyson Bjornstad/ Bell State Bank Pay-it-Forward
  • Gate City Bank
  • Xcel Energy
    • Evolution 1
    • FLEX MLS/ FBS
    • Intelligent Insights
    • Plains Art Museum
    • Pearle Vision
    • FM Visual Artists
    • Carpet World
    • Crystal Gilson Consulting
    • Bell State Bank
    • The Forum
    • FM Area Foundation

Support Local Art

In 2014, we had a summer intern specifically dedicated to an expanded ChalkFest event. Our goal was 1,000 people, and we more than met it.

  • We reserved Island Park and all the sidewalks. Drawings covered the sidewalks for as far as you could see from the gazebo.
  • We hired food vendors, who all met or exceeded their goals for the day.
  • We brought in Inspired Innovation Lab and NDSU geologist Jessie Rock to do fun experiments with chalk during an afternoon portion we called Chalk With Tots, a special time for day cares to join us. We had over 450 kids at this. We partnered with Dakota Medical Foundation to provide healthy snacks.
  • We hired Livewire Media to play music and do the sound for Boots, a fabulous local band.
  • We collected corporate sponsorships by selling sidewalk squares for business teams to do team-building drawing on.
  • We extended the event from three hours to six.
  • We handed out bubbles and chalk for free to everyone.
  • We sold our support local art. t-shirts.
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Island Park was full for our second annual ChalkFest. 2014

All in all, this is a fabulous event that we will continue to do. The more corporate sponsorship we receive, the more we will be able to do to engage a larger audience. This summer, we might want to hire more bands to play live music all day.

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Kids lining up to get their chalk and bubbles. 2014

We want to thank our 2014 Corporate Sponsorships:

  • Arctic Audio
  • Art Materials
  • Bell State Bank & Trust
  • Cash Wise
  • Dakota Medical Foundation
  • Flint Communications
  • The Forum
  • Hornbachers
  • Microsoft
  • Pearle Vision
  • Sam’s Club
  • TMI Hospitality
  • Xcel Energy

In 2013, The Arts Partnership had a summer intern whom we asked to create a one-day event that might engage her peer group. She developed our first ChalkFest, a three-hour, free public event with pizza and pop, chalk and bubbles. We hosted it in the parking lot of the Great Northern Bicycle Shop, and we hoped for 25 people.

You can imagine our surprise when over 450 people showed up on that gorgeous evening to listen to fun music coming out of speakers on loan from Arctic Audio, pick up their buckets of chalk and containers of bubbles and stand in line for pizza.

The mood was incredibly festive, the drawings were glorious, and the event was a huge success. We knew that we had hit on something, and that it needed a larger vision.

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Flint Communications has the distinct honor of being our first-ever winner in our Corporate Sponsorship competition. 2014

 

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Island Park was full for our second annual ChalkFest. 2014

All in all, this is a fabulous event that we will continue to do. The more corporate sponsorship we receive, the more we will be able to do to engage a larger audience. This summer, we might want to hire more bands to play live music all day.

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Kids lining up to get their chalk and bubbles. 2014

We want to thank our 2014 Corporate Sponsorships:

  • Arctic Audio
  • Art Materials
  • Bell State Bank & Trust
  • Cash Wise
  • Dakota Medical Foundation
  • Flint Communications
  • The Forum
  • Hornbachers
  • Microsoft
  • Pearle Vision
  • Sam’s Club
  • TMI Hospitality
  • Xcel Energy