Rain can't wash out 'Chalk Fest,' neighborhood spirit

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Sporadic rains didn't stop River Forest's first-ever "Chalk Fest" July 4 on the 300 block of Keystone.

"The South of the Track's spirit will not be dampened by a little rain," said Laurel McMahon, Chalk Fest's organizer. Part of River Forest's 125th Anniversary celebration, the event, a combination block party and neighborhood art fair, provided pastel chalk to anyone wishing to draw a River Forest person, landmark or scene on the street.

The event started slow, due to looming thunderclouds. But by mid-afternoon, things were in full artistic bloom.

"By the end of the afternoon, we had a pretty big crowd gathered," said McMahon.

Between rains, participants laid down their chalk drawings. Friends Deelee Bramhall and Rebecca Freeman, both 14, rendered pictures of Roosevelt School and Lincoln School, respectively. Both girls said they chose the schools because of the role each played in their lives, and their fondness for the schools' staffs.

McMahon said the most unique work may have been produced by Mike and Mary Casey along with their sons, Tom and Jack. They drew the Des Plaines River, which meandered for half a block, winding its way among the other street drawings.

Rain or not, each and every amateur artist gave it their all, according to McMahon, who said with a laugh. "They left their marks, no matter how temporary they were."

"Bill Dwyer

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