The 2012 Sarasota Chalk Festival is scheduled to kick off in Historic Burns Square on Sunday, Oct. 28 and will continue through Tuesday, Nov. 6. In fact, the street art will remain on the streets for 30 days after the completion of the festival. With approximately 200,000 visitors over a seven-day period last year, the 2012 festival is setting up to be even bigger. Now in its fifth season, this year’s theme of “Circus City, USA” pays homage to the circus roots that are an integral part of Sarasota’s heritage. If prior Chalk Festivals are any indication of what to expect, this year’s multi-day event with over 500 participating artists will be the grandest yet, full of talent, creativity, and of course beauty.
Perhaps it is the simplicity of the medium—pastel chalks and street pavement—that makes the artistic works seem so magical. Whatever the case, a metamorphosis takes place over a short period of time. By planning a number of visits over a few days, one can watch the individual creations evolve and take form, which has to be seen to be truly appreciated.
Planning on Attending?
Since the Sarasota Chalk Festival is a multi-day event, there is plenty of time to plan your visits and view the completed works of art and the others in progress. I try to visit the street artists two to three times a day, with early mornings and late evenings being my preferred times. At first, the festival may seem overwhelming with so much talent producing such interesting pieces. However, multiple visits allow you to intensely focus on two to four pieces from start to finish while still enjoying all the others as you stroll. If you only have time for a single visit, Sunday morning, Nov. 4, is probably best.
Food and the Festival
Since the appreciation of the street art is enhanced over time, why not consider meeting friends for an initial stroll through the festival, then perhaps take breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of the Burns Square cafés or restaurants, followed by another stroll to assess the progress?
Burns Square Restaurant Offerings for the 2012 Sarasota Chalk Festival:
Burns Court Café Fresh Start Café Nancy’s BBQ
Grab & Go Sandwiches: Extended Hours Smoker running at full capacity;
Ham & Cheese, Turkey & Dinner served Nov. 1 – 4 “Cup-o-Q” Tent on Nov. 3 – 5
Cheese, Salami & Cheese next to Sarasota Trading Co.
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Owen’s Fish Camp Sal’s Southern Grill
Open for lunch Nov. 3 – 4 Open 8 a.m. – midnight daily
$5 Lobster Rolls and $3 Beers Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner
The Sarasota Chalk Festival is truly a community event with participation and support from many. The Burns Square area restaurants adjust their menus and hours to accommodate the attendees. Other food sponsors such as Darwin’s on 4th, Duval’s New World Cuisine, Libby’s Cafe+Bar, Patrick’s 1481, Savory Street Cafe, Star Keeper Cafe, Station 400 and Word of Mouth all provide meals for the artists and volunteers who make the festival possible. Free to all participants, it is easy to see why the Sarasota Chalk Festival has become one of Sarasota’s favorites.