BIDDEFORD – Violet Wise sat Indian-style on the ground focused intently on smoothing out the chalk in her purple flower.

The 6-year-old’s cowboy boots, pink skirt, and black shirt were caked in colors of chalk resembling the nearby drawing of a rainbow she did with her 3-year-old sister, Stella.

“I did a rainbow cause of my dress,” Stella said. “Blue is my favorite color.”

Violet had a more strategic approach.

“I was trying to erase chalk with that ( a cloth) and it worked out so pretty and that’s why I did a rainbow,” Violet said. “I like this place cause there’s a lot of chalk.”

The sixth annual Chalk on the Walk was held Saturday in downtown Biddeford, drawing an estimated 2,500 people to the city. The event featured a sidewalk chalk art competition, live music, pony rides, a bouncy house, food and lots of chalk.

The sidewalks along Main Street were blanketed with chalk drawings from artists who were vying for the $300 cash prize. This year’s theme was animals, “Feathery, Furry, Slimy, and Scaly.”

Celeste Millette, an artist from Biddeford won first prize. Kate Gershwin, an art teacher at Biddeford Middle School placed second.

People gathered in front of Three D’s Variety as Danielle King, of Biddeford, finished her drawing. The theme was a bit understated in her drawing, which was a black and white 3D image of a staircase leading down to a door. Near the door was a dinosaur’s tail.

“I like art,” King said. “Here, my art can be viewed.”

One block away, Alexander Kaminsky of Biddeford, explained his brightly colored drawings of a snake, teddy bear and octopus. Kaminsky, who custom designs many of the city’s murals, said he wanted to tone down his entry this year to reflect the event’s family atmosphere.

“I do this every year,” he said. “I love it. It gets a lot of people in town to do something that is positive. It’s a really good event for children and people get together from all walks of life.”

Heather Ballard, of Biddeford brought her three children to the event. She said its an opportunity to get kids outdoors and exposed to art and music.

“We have a good time,” Ballard said. “It’s nice to have the downtown closed off.”

Many businesses in the down town district saw extra foot traffic on Saturday including the popular Rielly’s Bakery on Main Street. Maureen Jariz, whose brother owns the bakery, said the event is a big boom to downtown businesses.

“People that are never downtown, we are seeing them,” she said.

The event was organized by Heart of Biddeford, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of retail and cultural life in the downtown district. Ezekiel Callanan, the non-profit’s executive director, said the goal of the event is to draw people downtown and give them a positive experience so they return and spend money at the local shops and restaurants.

“The goal is to create a vibrant experience,” Callanan said. “There’s more people walking the streets than I’ve ever seen. I think people are having a great time.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]