Pasadena may be home to one of America’s grandest city halls and some of the nation’s most beautiful mansions, but for one weekend each June the sidewalks of The Paseo become its most colorful attraction.     

That’s when the nonprofit arts and education organization Light Bringer Project hosts the Pasadena Chalk Festival, which this weekend celebrates its 25th anniversary. More than 600 artists are expected to entertain and impress tens of thousands of attendees by creating vibrant artworks using more than 25,000 sticks of chalk on the mall’s giant square and surrounding walkways.

The fest set a Guinness World Record in 2010, winning the honor of “Largest Display of Chalk Pavement Art” in world history. In honor of that achievement and its illustrious history, the Pasadena Museum of History is hosting “Art in the Street: 25 Years of the Pasadena Chalk Festival” exhibit through Aug. 13.

“Over the span of a quarter-century, over 4,000 murals have been created in total, and this year will see a huge number of veterans returning from across the years to create 200 spectacular murals,” says Tom Coston, president of the Light Bringer Project. “It’s important to remember that each and every mural is an entirely new creation specifically designed for this year’s viewing public. It’s going to be exciting to see what our community of artists creates as each year murals take the event to a higher level of artistic achievement.”

Indeed, the paintings each year range from classical to contemporary themes, and from serious topics to whimsical ones. One expected highlight this weekend is a tribute mural to the late actress Carrie Fisher’s iconic “Star Wars” character, Princess Leia.

Movie buffs can also find plenty to enjoy at the Chalk of Fame located outside the Arclight Pasadena movie theatre, which spotlights the work of artists who create chalk murals depicting favorite movie scenes and famous movie posters. Another popular section is Animation Alley, where artists from Nickelodeon, Disney and other top companies mix with hobbyists crafting images based on renowned cartoon characters from TV and film.

Those wishing to make their memories last by buying art of the traditional, take-home variety are invited to shop in the festival’s Artist Gallery, where small painted canvases created by participating festival artists are available. Proceeds of the sales and from a silent auction of other participant-created artworks will benefit the Light Bringer Project.

Child attendees can also get in on the fun from noon to 5 p.m. each day by making Father’s Day cards in the Children’s Chalkland, while they interact with a creative balloon artist and a face painter. The Chalkland is located alongside the El Cholo Café on the Paseo’s second level.

The Pasadena Police Department will add to the excitement on Father’s Day by hosting the 16th annual Pasadena Police Classic Car show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday along Green Street, between Marengo and Los Robles avenues. Combined with live music throughout the weekend, this is a weekend that is a feast for everyone’s senses.  


The Pasadena Chalk Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 17 and 18 at The Paseo, 300 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Admission is free. Visit pasadenachalkfestival.com.