Chalk and Chocolate Festival, Berkeley

31 May 2008. A lazy Saturday. I was planning to walk over to the DVD rental store to return our Friday night movie, when Dilip mentioned the ‘Chalk and Chocolate‘ festival taking place a couple of blocks from our house. The name sounded interesting and so I looked it up online.

This is a street chalk art contest, open to the public. The art entries on the pavement were to be judged at the end of the day. There was entertainment by street performers, at various times and locations along the street. Best of all, there was chocolate sampling stalls at most of the many businesses (mainly food), along the street – it couldn’t get weirder than chocolate tandoori chicken, chocolate goat cheese truffles, chocolate hand massage, chocolate soap, chocolate mochi and chocolate garlic clusters. There were also some stalls put up by local artisans to sell their crafts.

We had a nice time strolling along the street inspecting the various chalk art pieces. Some of which looked very professional. Some were gleeful scribblings of little kids having a great time with the permission to use the pavement as their canvas. From amateurs to the skilled, there was a good balance of all types of art.

I am really impressed by North Shattuck Association’s innovative ideas to draw attention and promote the businesses along Shattuck Street. In Fall, they have the ‘Spice of Life’ festival, when they block off a long section of the street with stalls selling curios and knick-knacks of all types imaginable. Food stalls among these stalls fill the air with an irresistible aroma, while music from live bands blare from various locations.

For the weird, weirder and the weirdest, Berkeley is the place to be! It has a rich cultural history which significantly impacts America. I highly recommend the movie ‘Berkeley in the 60s’. It is a true-life, must-see documentary style movie about this birthplace of the free speech movement. There is a more recent movie titled ‘Berkeley’ following the life and transformation of the hero at UC Berkeley in the 60s. But it fails to impress as much as ‘Berkeley in the 60s’ does.

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