Summertime in Metro Denver means that not a weekend goes by without a celebration or festival of some sort. Often, the dilemma is in choosing which one to attend.
A favorite is Denver’s Chalk Arts Festival, an annual event featuring 200 artists literally on the streets of Larimer. Street painting is a tradition dating back to 16th century Renaissance Italy. At that time, artists attempted to make a living painting their version of the Madonna. A professional chalk artist is known as a “Madonnari”.
Denver’s Chalk Arts Festival allows visitors to closely observe artists as they create using color pastels. The artists, some in kneepads, and all of them dusty from chalk, spend a good part of two days creating work that will only last until the first rain showers hit. It is fascinating to watch them work. Many use small-scale drawings that are meticulously replicated, one square at a time, while the hot sun beats down and the crowds gather around.
A little less crowded this year was the 44th annual Cherry Blossom Festival at Sakura Square. It is a celebration of Japanese American heritage and culture. Visitors enjoyed teriyaki chicken and rice, spam musubi, and cold somen salads. Two beer gardens offered a variety of beverages, including a special Sakura Matsui craft brew created by Jagged Mountain Brewery across the street. Demonstrations of Japanese dancing, martial arts and the very popular Taiko drummers took place on the main stage.
There are many more opportunities still to come this summer to discover a new favorite artist, learn about an unfamiliar culture, or simply celebrate summer in our great city!