MARIETTA, Ga.- The smell of barbeque, beer and chalk permeated the air this weekend as crowds filled the streets surrounding the Marietta Square. Artists from all over the world created interactive designs on the pavement at the tenth annual Chalktoberfest.
The two-day event drew 83 chalk artists from all over the U.S. and countries such as Mexico, Japan, France, Italy, Turkey, Brazil and Ukraine. Fifty craft vendors, 11 bands and 125 beer and wine vendors were also available for sampling brews.
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Originally started as a fundraiser in 2013, the Cobb Tourism Board estimates 80,000 to 100,000 people come to the annual event each year. As the largest fundraiser for the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art, it helps fulfill the museum’s mission of “building community through art.”
Hector Diaz, who participated as an artist and musician, created an airplane for guests to “fly” on for his sixth Chalktoberfest. His chalk work is mostly acrylic due to the nature of allowing guests to interact with his work.
“If you don’t experience it in person in the moment while it’s happening, it’s gone. That’s it. It’s (art) only in the moment,” said Diaz.
Jennifer Fox, Director of Operations at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art, and her team work for almost a year planning and coordinating the event. Almost 400 volunteers work shifts to help make the free event possible.
Modeled after Sarasota’s Chalk Festival, the event has grown in size and popularity over the years.
“Our first year we had two artists, then we upped it to 20,” Fox said. We just slowly, but surely, grew it and then eventually brought in the beer festival to make money.”
Marietta resident, Laura Messina, attends the festival every year with her three children. She said the cloudy weather on Sunday helped keep crowds more manageable than previous years.
“My family loves to come to Chalktoberfest,” Messina said. “Every year we are astounded by what artists can do with chalk.”