Written by Kingsli Kraft | June 22, 2021
The Alpena Downtown Development Authority is hosting Chalk-it Up this Saturday, June 26th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Chalk it Up began in late summer 2020 as a way to encourage people to come downtown in a fun and safe, socially distanced way and interact with familiar places in a new way.
This year the DDA is hosting Chalk it Up once more and encouraging families and people of all ages to come downtown and leave a bit of artwork, an encouraging message or a bit of color in three locations. Chalk art is allowed in Culligan Plaza (the corner of Chisholm and 2nd Avenue where the fountain is), Avery Park (the park beside JJ’s Steak & Pizza House), and on Water Street on the sidewalk surrounding the Alpena Power Site. Some chalk will be provided in each location. The DDA does ask that chalk artists keep their artwork family friendly and free of any profanity, sexual or explicit themes, or anything controversial.
I think one of the best things about this event is that it’s super simple and so fun! I know the things that first made me fall in love with downtown when I was little and growing up here were things like this. Fun, whimsical events where I was able to interact with downtown in a way other than walking through stores with adults.
With Chalk it Up, our goal is to bring something fun and family friendly to downtown and encourage people to make a day of it with lunch from a local restaurant and then fun chalk art downtown.
It’s events like these, events that build positive associations and memories related to our downtown that help to build investment in our community and create lifelong supporters of small businesses and the downtown district.
If it hadn’t been for memories of Friday Night Block Parties downtown and Downtown Trick or Treating, I might feel differently about downtown today. Participating in things like that in the downtown district as a kid who didn’t have money to spend made me feel connected, like I was a part of the community too and that I was valued. It’s memories like that that inspire me in my work for the DDA every day. Because ultimately I hope to be a part of creating a community where everyone feels not only welcome, but also like they truly belong regardless of their age, gender, sexuality, race, socioeconomic status, or anything else. Everyone should feel like they’re a part of the community when they come downtown.
In support of the event this Saturday, Biggby Coffee will be having BOGO on all drinks. Those coming downtown to participate in Chalk it Up are also encouraged to grab lunch or a treat at the following downtown eateries: The Black Sheep Pub, The Bulldog, Cabin Creek Coffee, Downtown Scoops, The Fresh Palate, Freier’s Pizzeria, JJ’s Steak & Pizza House, Mangos Tequila Bar, and Take Five Deli.
In the case of rain or thunderstorms, Chalk it Up will be cancelled and may be rescheduled for later in the summer. If the event is cancelled we will post about it in the Facebook Event Saturday morning.
You can follow the Facebook event here and stay up to date on the latest information about the event: https://fb.me/e/1kgWLx01e
Kingsli Kraft wrote this article for Blog Downtown Alpena. Kingsli is an Alpena native and a graduate of the University of Michigan. She now works at the Alpena Downtown Development Authority as the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator. She volunteers on Thunder Bay Theatre’s Board of Directors and is a dedicated advocate for the arts and environment. She enjoys reading, writing, yoga, hiking, caring for her numerous house plants and all things coffee. You can follow her on Instagram here.