Chalking it up to a beautiful afternoon

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…

I caught Melissa Quick in action Satrday afternoon.
Her finished piece earned third place.
Samantha Wanner had stepped inside for a quick break when I stopped by, but I got a chance to chat with her dad. “She might not finish, but that’s ok,” he said. “She’s a perfectionist.”
Clearly. Samantha’s piece won second place.
I already knew Julie Jilek’s entry would be amazing when I saw it Saturday afternoon.
And I was right! Just look at this masterpiece!
Stacy Parish’s art exploded with color and good cheer.
Jodie Davis’ piece ended up being a whimsical portrayal of fairies. I love that she worked alongside her daughter Elizabeth.
Bree Sweetack created a cool 3-D Monoply card.
I feel like Briana Radecki should compete in the “In it to win it” category next year. This piece was gorgeous.
“Happiness is being owned by a dog” I loved this entry by Liz Johnson .
Natalie Weyers created the perfect piece for some of my little friends, who are huge Sonic the Hedgehog fans.
Briella Rose might have the prettiest name in the whole competition. I also loved her work.

Sarah Ann Fleming’s “The Beholder”
For some reason, (maybe it was because it was his birthday and he’s an ace poker player) I thought of my brother in-law Jimmy when I saw this depiction of dogs and cats playing poker by Annie Larsen.
How is this even chalk art? Samantha Grathen’s piece looks like a vintage ad…and I love the wink.
Check out Abigail Haubrich’s completed work on the ADI Facebook page. It’s really cool,
Laura Schrampfer Champeau was almost finished with her gorgeous pegasus piece when I saw it.
I loved them all. Of course I did. But, you have to know I love this piece the best. James Booras seemed as happy as his piece and that’s saying something. I’ve been that frog, wondering what the heck just happened, and that wordly bunny, and that happy fish and that cranky owl. Just look at Bambi, with his whole life ahead of him! I’m voting for this piece. You should go vote for your favorite! You can also still see these pieces live if you head to downtown Appleton in the coming days.

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