Samantha Wanner’s dad offered an appealing combination of pride and tranquility when I stopped by his daughter’s 2022 Appleton Chalk Walk entry Saturday afternoon.
“What time is the deadline?” I asked.
“6 p.m.,” he said. “She’s probably not going to finish in time but that’s okay. She’s a perfectionist.”
“I’ll come back,” I said.
Samantha not only finished, she won second place in an event that featured some of the most miraculous chalk art I’ve seen.
I stopped by Julie Jilek’s piece in progress Saturday afternoon as well. Though it was only 2:00 in the afternoon, I could already tell she was creating a masterpiece.
“Good thing you have the shade,” I said.
“I’ve been waiting all morning for it to get here!” she good-naturedly replied.
Jilek’s rendition of an Alphonse Mucha painting with a nod to McFleshman’s Brewery won first place. It’s really too bad McFleshman’s can’t scoop that painting up and keep it inside forever. It was that good.
But, the fleeting nature of chalk art adds to its charm. That’s why I was really glad to enjoy it on my Saturday afternoon stroll.
“This is such a happy picture,” I said to James Booras, whose piece is located in front of the PAC.
“That’s because I’m a happy guy,” he said.
I loved his attitude and his piece.
Competitive chalk art can be grueling. The Appleton event began at 9 a.m. on an increasingly toasty Saturday. Artists had nine hours to complete their work. Most were covered in chalk dust by the time I strolled past.
Jodie Davis competed in the Just for Fun category with her daughter and son. I loved her whimsical depiction of cute little fairies flitting between mushrooms as much as I loved her daughter’s equally whimsical drawing of a rainbow woman with celestial hair. Even more than their cool art, I loved that they spent the day together creating it.
I’m not sure Brianna Radecki’s piece belonged in the Just for Fun category and I’m hoping she’ll move herself into the In It to Win It category next year.
If you’re experiencing a little FOMO regarding Appleton Downtown Incorporated’s Chalk Walk, don’t despair. You, too, can participate by voting for your favorite piece. Just go to the ADI Facebook page and click on the image that you think is the best and “like” it to cast your vote. Voting is open through Sunday, July 24 at 11:59pm.
To be clear, I liked them all but I think I’m going to vote for James Booras because I like to think happiness is contagious and I’d like to spread a little of his.
Of course, I took a photo or two…