Let’s take it back to those sunny days of your childhood where summer meant riding bikes, picnics, and lots of outdoor games! One of the most iconic pastimes we think of when flashing back a couple of decades is playing with SIDEWALK CHALK! Whether you used colorful chalk to sketch out a hopscotch board or to doodle your name along with some flowers and smiley faces, chalk art is something that causes nostalgia to kick in. This is why we are THRILLED to announce Southshore Riverwalk + ChalkFest, a new event coming to the Burgh this Memorial Day weekend!

As one of the event’s presenters, we want to give you the inside scoop. Memorial Day is often said to be the unofficial start of summer in the city so what better way to celebrate than with the first annual Southshore Riverwalk + ChalkFest?! This will be a free outdoor event right along 27th Street & Sidney Street, in Southside. Not only will attendees be able to check out the artwork being drawn by over 20 chalk artists from all over the US, but there will be plenty of other local entertainment as well!

Beginning at 2 pm on Saturday, May 28th, Southshore Riverwalk + ChalkFest is going to be a can’t miss event. When you arrive, grab a bite to eat from one of the 13 participating food trucks. Local favorites like Brisketburgh, La Palapa, and Millie’s will be in attendance to serve you everything from savory to sweet! If you’re 21+, check out the local brews and cocktails served up by Trace Brewing, Strange Roots Brewing, and Gordo’s Tacos & Tequila. We encourage you to come hungry and get your grub on because a portion of sales at each food and drink stand goes to Riverlife!

Riverlife is a nonprofit organization that works to create, activate, and celebrate Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. Since 1999, Riverlife has brought beautiful works of art to all sides of the three rivers! Riverlife President and CEO, Matthew Galluzzo, says “events like the Riverwalk & Chalk Fest bring people together and highlight how public art can be a driver of a world-class riverfront experience for all.” This is why Riverlife has been working for decades on adding touches of beauty along 15 miles and over 1,055 acres of Downtown riverfront parks, trails, and grass space. They have an exciting next ten years ahead with their “Competing the Loop” project! This project focuses on making our iconic ”three rivers” city, a premier destination for attractions and experiences found nowhere else in the region.

During Southshore Riverwalk + ChalkFest keep an eye out for some special murals that will be inspired by our very own rivers and riverfronts as a way to pay tribute to Riverlife’s work. The chalk artists will begin their masterpieces on Friday and welcome onlookers as they perfect their murals. They will be finishing up around the beginning of the event at 2 pm on Saturday. This way, you can talk to the artists during the duration of the 4-hour event and snap a couple of photos with your favorite murals and artists!

If you’re looking to bring your kiddos and make a fun family day of it, there will be entertainment to keep the kids having a blast! Free face painting and airbrush tattoos will be provided by P.G.H. Party Creations so you can become a work of art yourself! Take in the street and circus performers throughout the day putting on great acts and shows. While you’re taking in all of the excitement, you will also hear the live music of several musicians such as Gabriella Salvucci and The Roof Acoustic. This event will be an afternoon festival truly perfect for families, friends, and dates!

Loving the sound of this event? Be sure to show up and support Riverlife so they can continue doing their amazing work! Some of their other projects you may be familiar with include “Energy Flow” and “Black Flowers.” “Energy Flow” is the lighting installation that runs along the Rachel Carson Bridge, best seen after the sun sets. The mural “Black Flowers” can be found underneath the Ft. Duquesne Bridge depicting colorful portraits of local Black faces of excellence. By partnering with local artists like Andrea Apollo, Ron Gdovic, and Cameron “Camo” Nesbit, Riverlife brings unique pieces of art to the loop. The loop, as mentioned in the title of the Riverlife 10-year plan, is currently designated by the following boundaries: the West End Bridge and the Chateau riverfront on the Ohio River; the 31st Street Bridge on the Allegheny; and the Hot Metal Bridge near SouthSide Works on the Monongahela. Be on the lookout for more exciting installations in these areas!

We can’t wait to see you at this year’s first annual Pittsburgh Southshore Riverwalk + ChalkFest! RSVP for this free event on the Facebook page by clicking here!

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Francesca Ferrante

Francesca Ferrante aka The412Franimal is a Blogger/Influencer for travel and ALL things Pittsburgh. Typically you can find her all over the US exploring the best food, views and adult beverages, or at a local PGH brewery watching whatever sport is in season. Passionate about helping others make the best memories, she loves sharing recommendations and tips for restaurants, events, happy hours & more!

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