Chalk the Walk returns to Mount Vernon this weekend

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 11:53 PM CDT
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MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (KCRG) - After hosting last year’s Chalk the Walk festival in a virtual setting because of the pandemic, the annual outdoor event will return this weekend to Mount Vernon.

With three blocks of the city’s uptown area closed to traffic, the event brings together artists who recreate famous works of art with chalk and others who sketch their own original designs.

At the center of it all, attendees are invited to color in a community piece large enough to take up an entire street intersection. As a fitting nod to what the world has endured for over a year, this weekend’s community piece design will be Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” complete with a mask on the subject’s face.

“Anybody can chalk on a two-foot-by-two-foot square,” said Joe Jennison of the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group. “We’ll have a sort of — it’s like a giant coloring book, so we’ll have kind of a way for you to follow.”

Jennison said the event had typically drawn in around 5,000 people in recent years.

This weekend’s occurrence will be the first big, outdoor festival in Mount Vernon since 2019.

“I don’t know how many people are going to come. I don’t know what to expect,” Jennison said.

Andrea Gorsh, the owner of Kae Apothecary on 1st Street and a member of the Chalk the Walk committee, also was unsure what this weekend’s turnout could look like.

But Gorsh said the weekend is typically an “insane” one at the store, which opens out into the festival.

“The festive energy that comes with Chalk the Walk every year is intoxicating,” Gorsh said. “And I can only imagine that this year, it’s going to be 10 times more because everyone is just so excited to come together again.”

Chalk the Walk will run from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday in Mount Vernon.

Attendees will have to follow the city’s mask mandate, which requires people to wear a face covering when inside businesses and when unable to socially distance outdoors.

Both Gorsh and Jennison said they were looking forward to welcoming guests to their city for the first time in a while.

“It’s going to be such a joyous thing to see everybody come together,” Gorsh said.

“We are ready, and we are very excited to share our community,” Jennison echoed.

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