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ChalkFest returns to Red River Zoo this week

Chalk artist Tracy Melendez kneels by her completed chalk kayaker outside Gate City Bank in West Fargo on June 20, 2018. Local artists created drawings outside Gate City locations over the summer to prepare for ChalkFest, which will take place Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, at Red River Zoo in Fargo. Special to The Forum1 / 3
Chalk artist Britt Dalice created one of the promotional drawings for ChalkFest. Her cardinal perched on its cement branch was created outside Gate City Bank's downtown Moorhead location on June 25, 2018. Special to The Forum2 / 3
ChalkFest participants create art on the upright chalking station at the Red River Zoo during ChalkFest 2017. 5foot20 Design / Special to The Forum3 / 3

FARGO — A unique festival of creativity and art is making its way back to the Red River Zoo here for the sixth year in a row.

ChalkFest is a celebration of musical and visual art that is hosted by The Arts Partnership (TAP). Since 2013, ChalkFest has encouraged residents of Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo to express their inner artist through one simple medium, regardless of age or ability: chalk.

Over the course of the summer, TAP has teamed up with Gate City Bank to host a series of chalk drawings by several artists, including Britt Dalice, Tracy Melendez, Emily Brooks and Chelsea Odden, at Gate City locations across the community to drum up spirit for the annual event.

TAP Communications Coordinator Chelsey Ewen says the accessibility of ChalkFest is her favorite part of the event.

"Chalk is a universal medium that anyone can pick up and use," Ewen says. "Even if all you make is a stick figure, we celebrate it because in the process of drawing the head, the arms, the body, you're still activating something in your brain that can only be awakened by creativity."

From the moment someone walks into ChalkFest, they are immersed in a world of chalk, thanks to six local artists who have created murals at the entrance of the zoo. Once inside, free chalk is handed out to all participants, who are encouraged to find a spot on the pavement to create.

When it's time for a break, attendees can see the animals, listen to live music or visit arts groups at different booths.

"We hope anyone who attends ChalkFest walks out of the zoo with a sense of pride in what they create and a renewed sense of gratitude for the diverse and creative community we live in," Ewen says. "Even if they leave the event with a little more chalk on their clothes than when they arrived."

If you go

What: ChalkFest

When: noon to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9

Where: Red River Zoo, 4255 23rd Ave. S., Fargo


Emma Vatnsdal

Emma Vatnsdal is a Features writer, focused on telling stories about people, places and all the interesting things that come along with it. She earned her degree in multimedia journalism from Minnesota State University Moorhead and joined the Forum Communications team in 2018. She grew up in the far north town of Roseau, Minn. and has a thick Minnesotan-Canadian accent. Follow her on Twitter @emmajeaniewenie.

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