Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Fun Time at the Perry Chalk Art Festival

Saturday July 9, 2016                                                   Most Recent Posts:
Letchworth State Park                                                    Mary Jemison and the Letchworth Museum
Perry, New York                                                             Breakfast at the Glen Iris Inn and an Ode to the Waterfalls



Lately I haven’t been posting a Duckie View out our front window the way I did for years.  Not sure why but today all the crew was together and as you can see they’ve expanded quite a bit from Moby and Handy, the Duck brothers, who started out with us in 2010.




We are going into the nearby (3.7 miles) town of Perry to attend the Perry Chalk Art Festival but of course when David walks out of the rig to get in the car, those berries are beckoning.  Notice those leaves of three at his feet.




We arrive in downtown Perry and things are getting underway.  Even though many streets are blocked off for the parts of the festival and they are using parking lots for chalk painting, we are able to find a spot on the main street convenient to everything except my ability to take any ‘no auto’ pictures of their great old buildings.




Just as we arrive, it starts to rain.  Totally unforecasted and the area really needs the rain but I’m pretty sure the chalk artists must have panicked.  They are all in what looks to be a large parking lot and have, of course, brought tarps to cover up their works.    There are also children and others who have taped off squares all along the main street but they are lucky that these are all under awnings.

So far it’s a light rain but there isn’t much art to see with it all under tarps so we wander around town to see what else is happening.




Before we leave, we notice that right next to the silent auction table is the Chalk Art quilt where anyone can pick up some chalk and decorate a square.  I hope the rain doesn’t ruin the early efforts.



We find the County Fair Queen manning the silent auction under a canopy.  There are some junior queens behind her but they never turned around while I was there.



As we walk, I particularly like to notice the ornate tops of buildings.  These days we seldom do anything architecturally intricate on our buildings.


This beauty happened to be the home of the Barber Shop with two barber polls in the window and a guy in the chair.  Hours on Saturday 8 to noon.









The details are beautiful and you never see them if you don’t look UP.   Buiilt in 1912 and beautifully preserved or maintained.




The oldest building with a date is the Cole Building from 1867.  Subtle details on the windows and sills, the cornices and side trim of the store windows.



We find the farmer’s market which is usually in the parking lot where the chalk artists are working has been moved to this street.  There are very few vendors but every single one is a farmer.  No crafts, those are in another market.  Just food and baked goods.   Like BIG tomatoes, juicy cherries, blueberries and raspberries along with chard, kale and other veggies.  We limit ourselves to some tomatoes and chard wishing we had not just bought blueberries at the grocery.







It stops raining and then it starts again, off and on. We duck under the vendors canopys and hope this doesn’t continue all morning.



I buy a delciious walnut sticky bun from these girls who have many pastries and breads.  They all look yummy.






David buys a raspberry and rhubarb pie to share with friends who will be joining us at Sampson State Park on Seneca Lake  tomorrow.   I’m not a big fan of rhubarb and would have opted for the blueberry had it been me.  But he’s buying.




On our way back to the center area, we find these young artists busy at work on their squares.  There are 3 youth divisions separated by age.   This year’s theme is New York State of Mind and it’s interesting to see what each artist does with that idea.








This young man is almost finished with his work and later takes 3rd place in his division.



Having never been to a chalk art festival, I was unaware that you can get your hair chalked.  This young lady and her mother were putting streaks in for all comers.



Seems like a much better way than dye to put wild colors in your hair.  Want pink hair, get some chalk.



Back at the central area, the rain appears to have stopped and the artists are busy at work their tarps set aside.






The quilt is getting much more attention now.



For those who read yesterday’s post, this artist is drawing is Mary Jemison, White Woman of the Genesee.   She’s a very revered figure in this area.



You can also get your face painted.  I don’t think this is chalk but I don’t know for sure.



It’s fun to see the chalk art at all different stages of completion.  I believe the competition ends at 4pm.  Later on I’ll show the finished products.  This one is the rabbit.



There are many versions of the Statue of Liberty in today’s art.



The Mary Jemison portrait is right across from this one.  The couple drawing them are related.  I’m just amazed at how life like this Indian Brave is.  I had no idea you could do such things with chalk.  Perhaps the Brave is also locally famous.



This one turns out to be my favorite not only because of the art work but also becasue he has so acurately painted himself into the picture and its symbolism is meaningful.  A few of the artists had artistic statements about their work taped to the ground so you could read them as you stopped to watch.  The artist, Rick Hauser, titled it The Three New Yorkers.  I’ve attached a photo of his statement.  Give it a read





Also part of the Chalk Art Festival is a bicycle race.  I laugh every time I see its name – “The Tour de PeR-RY”.  There are wonderful country roads to ride on in this area.  The tour is over at this point having started earlier in the morning.







I think the finish line girls are getting ready to close up shop.




Time for us to head down to “The Taste of Summer” in which numerous local restaurants bring out tastes of food and beverage.  Each costs two tickets.  You can buy 20 tickets for $15 if you buy them before the day or 20 tickets for $20 the day of.




Hope you can read the menu.  There were a lot of very delicious tastes here.


David bought our tickets before hand and we each had 5 tastes.  Beer and wine tastes were free amazingly.





There were stand up tables with linen cloths in the center inside and the food on linen covered tables was around the edges of the tent.







There were also tables outside.



5 tastes was surprisingly filling and served as lunch for us.


I feel like I must be back in the rural south when I see this shirt on a man pushing a toddler in a stroller. 


Back outside the younger artists were mostly finished.  I love Moo York won 2nd place in the juried 10-14 year old category.



Or nearly so.



Opposite the silent Auction was the music area.  There were groups playing all day long.  We really enjoyed this band The Brothers Blue.  They were very talented multi-instrument brothers whose last name was Blue.




They were super instrumentalists and had a tight great 3 part harmony. 



We stayed and listened for their entire set and then bought one of their CDs.  They are local boys and we do try to support the local artists to the extent that we can.




Time is getting short and we are wondering how some of the artists will finish on time.





This is the nearly finished piece that I showed earlier partially done.  Really fun to see what they turn into.  It eventually won 2nd place in the visitors voting.




Exact measurements are necessary apparently for this New York City Skyline.



The finished Brave.




This young man on the sidewalk was so professional I felt he should have been in the main category.  I was really surprised to see that he came in 3rd in the juried division for ages 15-19.  I would have given him first place.  The shading and shadows on his drawing were beautiful when it was finished.



The judges special award for best use of color went to this drawing titled Liberty Rabbit.  I thought it was very well done but am not sure why it won a color award.



Top Prize of the day in the adult juried category went to Karen Flack for Tenacious.


Rick is still my favorite.  He seems to have other members of his family involved judging from the number of “Hauser” winners in other categories.



As we drive home I snap this picture to show why the folks in this area don’t see the big apple as the whole of New York.
There is a strong Seneca Indian and agricultural heritage here.   We have really enjoyed our visit and would love to return in times of more water.



  1. There certainly were a lot of activities, and I'm glad they didn't get totally rained out. I have always loved New York, both the city and the upstate.

  2. New architecture is really boring compared to the details found in the old buildings. I've tried chalking my hair because I wanted a lavender streak without the dye. They must be using some pretty soft chalk because it took a while with the pastels I have. It's hard to believe the details involved with these chalk creations. I'd have a difficult time choosing a favorite. Then such a shame that they will be washed away. I've never been to upstate NY but it looks pretty and inviting.

  3. The Chalk Art Festival was a real eye-opener for me in many ways - the small town, the actual farmers and bakers in the market, the local eateries in the Taste of Summer, the musicians & of course the chalk artists. All wonderful in a small town small crowd. Frightening to think of the possibilities for putting chalk stripes in my electric hair - what's left in the side patches on each side of the dome. Red, white & blue would be a fright though. A Rainbow would be better for me... ;)

  4. What a lovely way to spend the day!! That entire area is the absolute opposite of the I-95 corridor through New York. Reminds me in so many ways of the Amish Country of PA and OH. I think one could spend an entire summer exploring the region!!

  5. The food market looks like it has a lot to offer. I've seen chalk artists at work each year during our Busker's Festival. It really is stylish work!

  6. This was a great post I love all the chalk art... I also like to see the kids in the window. :)

  7. Have never gotten to see a chalk art festival. I know in many places they do them in 3-D, so they look like they have depth. Very nice drawings by many talented folk!

  8. Wow - I am always amazed by people who have such talent for the visual arts. Like you, I liked Rick's chalk 'painting' that included him working on it - really creative and well done. I also liked the Brave and the sunflower - the artwork comes alive and to me, one who has never had that skill, is very impressive. I bet Dad could have done a pretty good chalk drawing - I'm just not sure I'd ever have the patience - those looked pretty big and must have taken hours to do. The tasting looks like it was fun - I would have enjoyed that also - what a neat day! The ducky collection is so cute and has definitely grown :)

  9. I too am a sucker for picking the berries and trying to avoid the ivy...

  10. Good to see the gang all enjoying their NY view :-) What a fun day - listening to live music all day while tasting yummy food and viewing local artists in action sounds wonderful. That young man definitely has talent, can't believe 3rd place.

  11. When you pointed out the leaves of three I thought you were going to end with someone getting a dose of poison ivy! Never heard of the chalk art festival. Those artists sure created some wonderful art ... all the more beautiful perhaps for being ethereal.

  12. There were some very talented artists creating beauty with chalk. I would have loves walking around watching the artist work. Glad the rain didn't destroy the work:) Good to see you enjoying this area of NY. My family is from a little further north and east in the Thousand Island area.

  13. What a great festival! I'm amazed at how much work people will put into a chalk painting, knowing that it's ephemeral. That's truly a practice of finding joy in the process. The food tastings look yummy!

  14. I would love to see those artist at work, how talented. Never been to a chalk festival and Im sure you had a great day wandering and taking photos for us.

  15. Oh my goodness! Those chalk drawings are absolutely amazing! I'd be so sad that they aren't permanent.
    I couldn't believe how talented the artists were. What a fun day and a fun post- so colorful! Glad you're having fun! xxxooo

  16. Love all the chalking, I was actually searching the web to see what festivals I could possibly make a destination in September! That Brave was stunning.


Your comments are the best part of this blog for me.
I LOVE hearing from you!