Chalk on the Walk
Presently out west visiting my Dad, but last Saturday the girls and I took a trip downtown to Larimer Square and caught the annual Denver Chalk Art Festival! It's always at the beginning of June, and we have been trying to catch it the last few years.
Luckily this year it wasn't so hot your shoes were melting to the pavement. Okay that may be a slight exaggeration, but I distinctly remember the HEAT being a prime component at this chalk art festival in years' past. (2014 is burned, literally, into my memory as a scorcher of a time at the chalk festival because I was pregnant with Lolo who was due that September! See that post!)
This year we found parking in a garage a few blocks away and I plopped them in the stroller. I KNEW it would also be very crowded, and the sidewalks on Larimer are bumpy, and the way they have the festival set up is really not stroller-friendly, BUT, I knew I would need it for the walk there, and certainly for the walk back. Just when you think you're out of the stroller phase! I always have it in my trunk, and they still fit in ours, BARELY! I am in the market for a collapsible wagon for them. I think that is going to be our next mode of transportation for them for excursions and parks and the like. Any recommendations?
We got there super late in the day, around 1:30, but this year there was some great overcast situation happening so that helped keep temps down a bit and also made for AWESOME photo capturing. My favorite outdoor lighting to take photos of the girls in is sunset, obviously, but hard to catch when they're young and there's schedules and bedtimes and not always a prime place at the perfect time, BUT cloudy days are a sure bet! You won't get harsh shadows and the contrast of a figure against a gray sky make the subject pop! This is all just my lowly mom-photographer-opinion.
The girls were able to worm their way into the front of the crowds and catch glimpses of the murals. I think adults are interested in the art more than kids, and going back through photos now, I am just now seeing some had 3-D effects like that giraffe! In person and up so close with crowds it is hard to see the visual artistry intended like the 3-D. We stopped for a cool down in AC, potty and an iced coffee for momma at Starbucks right there on Larimer. Luckily I was parking my stroller along the restaurant patios on Larimer as we walked down and then I would take my valuables out and leave the stroller and get in there to see the art with the girls then go back for the stroller. It was honestly cumbersome, if you can avoid a stroller I would. BUT, we made it work, and I was glad to have it despite its annoyance.
We also found these cool painted snail statues that the girls had a ball riding! Sort of similar to the painted cows dotting 16th Street mall I guess. I didn't get the information on what that collection was, but we saw at least three at the festival.
As we wove our way down, we also found the food. Unfortunately we went at a time when we needed to eat lunch. I was going to scope out the hot dogs, and the guy seemed so helpful, too helpful actually. I was trying to settle the girls on a bench on Larimer and he basically gave me a beef sausage thing, it was LONG, too long for the crumby bun he gave it to me on. I asked for sauerkraut and he forgot, then they had no drinks, no plastic knife to cut this thing and it was $13! Another BIG recommendation if you go with a family, eat BEFORE or AFTER< not there. Way. Too. Expensive. And shitty food. I was bummed. I hate paying for food if I don't have to, especially BAD food and TERRIBLE service! Brushing it off, the girls only had a couple bites each, too hot and late to eat I think.
We saw a few more chalk squares, a favorite was the tiger and a lion with a rainbow mane. BUT, the biggest hit was the pet store, Dog Savvy! I have taken Rem in there before and she remembers it now and begged to go in, so we made a "pet-stop" in there to pet some doggies. My girls LOVE dogs and this is a safe, small environment to let them ask owners if they can pet.
After that we stumbled upon some GIANT Rice Krispee Treat squares or Cereal Squares and they looked too amazing to pass up. Again, probably should not have bought that! Our eyes were bigger than our tummies. We each and one bite and brought it home. It is STILL sitting on my kitchen counter. You get caught up in the "festival vibe" I tell you! It's okay...
At the end, near Speer, is where they had an enclosed area for kiddos to do chalk, or anyone really. By this point in the day the chalk were nubs and my girls were more interested in face painting or the trampoline thingy. Be prepared for major disappointments and frustration if you do not want to spend on that or wait in LONG lines that were not moving. Somehow, some way, we managed to slither out of that situation. I think my girls were tired at this point. I was able to distract them and we made it back to the stroller to head out.
The HIGHLIGHT for them wasn't the chalk, or even the pet shop, well maybe that was, but I think it was at the very end when we were walking back to our parking garage and they both had the impulse to get OUT of the stroller and RUN and JUMP and be FREE! The were literally sliding down air vents on a corporate building and we discovered a TALL staircase. I told them to race up and down it three times and they happily and eagerly took my challenge. They had a BALL at that business park! I think that might have told me, and maybe you too, that the Chalk Art Festival is sort of neat, but expensive, crowded, good luck finding parking, and also I don't honestly think kids love it. Again, what do I know. Just a mom here, but I don't get the impression my girls liked it. They love art and doing art and they have and use and LOVE their sidewalk chalk at home, but they would rather be artists than spectators, I guess.
We made it our own day and found our own fun. The chalk didn't etch the biggest smiles, but it brought us down there to experience something new together, so in that aspect I suppose it might be worth checking out. I think oder kiddos, 7 and older would appreciate more, and no need for strollers and frequent potty breaks and snacks. Any other festivals happening this summer in Denver that these girls might be up for? Would love to hear your festival thoughts below in the comments!
This week we are enjoying our time with Pa and trying to stay cool. We visited Escalante Canyon today- now THAT is beauty guys! If you ever make it out to Colorado, the western slope is definitely worth looking into. Think we are headed to a pool to cool down tomorrow!
Hope your Junes are starting off swell! Oh, and a video at the end. ;)