Pandemic Doesn’t Erase ‘Chalk.a.Lot’ Festival in Two Harbors

The festival continued this year, albeit downsized due to COVID-19.

TWO HARBORS, Minn.- Artist hard at work could be spotted throughout Two Harbors Saturday, and their canvas — the sidewalks. The 9th Annual “Chalk.a.Lot” Festival carried on.

“Everybody’s so excited to be here and they’re happy to be creating art,” said Carrie Coan, President of the Two Harbors Area Arts and Events Board.

“This is our 9th year and everybody loves it. They look forward to following the artwork on the sidewalks and the good thing about this event is that the artwork will last for months,” she said.

The festival attracted Pavement Picassos of all ages to flex their imaginations.

“A T-Rex,” said young Taylor Woodruff, showing off the drawing he did with his father and his little brother, River. “A T-Rex kind of, a dragon kind of, Godzilla,” said Dad, Miles. “Kind of Like Sharptooth,” Taylor replied. “Sharptooth from the Land Before Time.”

For families like the Woodruffs, it’s the perfect opportunity to get out of the house and create together.

“I think it’s just good for children too to get out and about and away from screens and just enjoy stuff like this, get back to drawing on the sidewalk,” Miles said. “That’s what I used to do when I was little. I didn’t sit on the phone and play videogames.”

This year’s festival was vastly different. Artists were socially distanced apart, all the supplies pre-bagged, and the event was not advertised beyond Two Harbors, to minimize the normally large crowds.

“It’s kind of a bummer not to see the park full of people because usually we get thousands of people down in this park over the course of the weekend,” said Coan.

The festival was noticeably smaller this year, and organizers chalk that up to the pandemic. Out of the 200 artists that normally participate only 20 were allowed to sign up.

But those that were present said that doesn’t take away from the art at the heart of the event.

“I don’t even mind that it’s slow because I really do this for myself. It’s totally, I get totally into it,” Lauri Hohman said.

Hohman has been a fan-favorite for the past six festivals. She’s one of the many who have been scrawling the sidewalks with colors every year. And this year’s piece was no exception.

“It’s going to say ‘Bee Colorful,'” she said describing her drawing. “And the whole idea is let’s include everyone and all colors. I have a problem with people that say let’s be colorblind — I say let’s be colorful.”

She says despite this year being toned-down, her creative juices were at full blast.

“It’s that creativeness coming out of you. And you have to start doing something, you have to be in the flow for it to happen,” said Hohman. “So this is part of being in the flow and there’s no better way to get in the flow than to be outside.”

And according to organizers, the community is better off for their creative flow decorating the city. “It’s just great to see them all come out and share their talents with the community,” Coan said.

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