Chalk art festival 2

Holland King of Tampa creates a Muppets mural during the 2018 Chalk Festival.

CLEARWATER — With cooler temperatures heading to Tampa Bay, what better way to spend the weekend than to head to Clearwater and check out its reinvented chalk festival?

Chalktober Fest, previously known as Chalk Fest, has been organized by Amplify Clearwater and sponsored by Morton Plant Hospital.

The new festival will bring together local businesses and chalk artists from across the nation to downtown and coastal Clearwater for a celebration of community and art.

The festival will span five weeks, from Oct. 1 to Nov. 1, with different businesses and artists showcased each week. In years past, the festival was held over a three-day weekend on Clearwater Beach.

During Chalktober Fest, participating business owners will be partnered with a local or visiting artist, who will create chalk art in front of or near the business.

Amanda Payne, chief executive of Amplify Clearwater, said she has gotten wonderful feedback from area businesses.

“This idea has been so popular with business owners,” Payne said. “We might continue to do the festival like this for some time.

“This really is more value for our members,” she continued. “We are bringing people right to their front door.”

The silver lining

Clearwater Beach business owner Lisa Chandler said the reimagining of the annual event comes at a great time.

“Given the environment we are currently operating in, I think it was a brilliant idea to spread out the art,” said Chandler, who is owner of Pier 60 Concessions and Barefoot Beach House. “Not everyone visits at the same time."

Chandler, who is participating in this year’s event, said that if there is a silver lining to be found amidst the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that everyone is having to reevaluate to work, live and host events.

“Events are evolving these days,” she said. “COVID-19 has been challenging, but in moving forward, it has given us time to refresh and brainstorm new ideas.”

For more information about the festival, visit website www.amplifyclearwater.com/chalktober.