Chalk Festival underway in Venice, hoping to rebound from last year

Sarasota County

VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) – The Chalk Festival is back in Venice for the first time since 2017.

Last year’s event was canceled because of red tide, so officials are really hoping for a successful weekend.    

Officials here have their work cut out for them. They’ve already encountered a few obstacles before the gates even opened.

The Chalk Festival is the preeminent pavement art event in the world.

“This is kind of considered the homecoming, it’s a global community,” said founder Denise Kowal.

Artists from 40 different countries have gathered in Venice displaying creative three-dimensional artwork, that must be seen to believe.

Last year’s cancellation hit some of the artists pretty hard.

“That was really horrible because we have over 200 artists that plan their whole year around our festival. When you miss a year, it’s almost like starting over again,” said Kowal.

The sudden closure cost organizers $70,000, not to mention, it affected vendors and business owners.

In recent weeks, red tide was back in Venice.

“We’ll hope that the red tide somehow abates,” said artist Kurt Wenner.

This morning the festival opening was delayed because of bad weather, but everyone is determined to soldier on.

“Two years ago or something, supposedly there were 200,000 people here so I’m pretty sure something will happen,” said vendor Jurgen Wochnik.

“This is going to be our comeback and we’re super excited to present for everybody in the community,” said Kowal.

The Chalk Festival is being held at the Venice Airport and the event runs through Monday.

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