What To Know Before Visiting the Pasadena Chalk Festival

May 20, 2024

The Pasadena Chalk Festival returns to the Plaza at the Pasadena Convention Center (300 E. Green Street) on June 22 & 23. The annual celebration of art and culture is a beloved family-friendly event in the heart of Pasadena. Whether you are visiting for the first time or the thirtieth, here is everything you should know before heading to the Pasadena Chalk Festival.

It’s the 31st Annual Celebration

The Pasadena Chalk Festival began in 1993, inspired by the romance of 16th century Italian street painting from artists known as “madonnari.” Hundreds of skilled artists create large colorful chalk murals. There will be a DJ spinning live music, art gallery and silent auction, concessions, and a beer garden.

There have been engagements and weddings at the Pasadena Chalk Festival

For 30 years, incredible moments have been captured at the Pasadena Chalk Festival. In 2012, artist Jamie Leake proposed to his girlfriend Sarah after spending the two-day festival creating a chalk mural of an engagement ring. They now have two beautiful children. In 2017, Robin and Brian Birney got married during the chalk festival. In 2022, artist Jennifer Ripassa collaborated worked on a mural with a friend to help pop the question, “Will You Marry Me?”

There’s a pre-chalk festival at Fairfax High School

Since 1995, art teacher Liz Kim has been holding her own chalk festival at Fairfax High School, as a precursor to the Pasadena Chalk Festival. The winning group of high school students are awarded the opportunity to join her at the Pasadena Chalk Festival.

The largest chalk mural at the Pasadena Chalk Festival was over 60 feet

In 1998, a team of artists led by Brad Everhard drew a giant red squid, spanning over 60 feet of space at the festival. The team created their own t-shirts representing the eyeball of the squid.

There are over 500 artists and 200 chalk murals

Over 500 artists will gather in Pasadena to fill 200 mural spaces on the Plaza floor of the Pasadena Convention Center. The artists will be creating their masterpieces over the course of the two-day festival. The festival opens from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

The artwork is an expression of culture

Each piece of artwork created for the Pasadena Chalk Festival is unique and presented in various styles. The murals are an expression of cultural thought, social issues, and popular culture. In the 2000s, Tibetan Buddhist monks created a sand painting over the course of that year’s festival, concluding it by blowing it away. Last year, Gustavo Alonso’s winning piece was a portrait of Sasha Colby, Season 15 crowned winner of RuPaul's Drag Race, the first native Hawaiian trans person to ever win the show.

The awards ceremony is on Sunday

As murals are being completed on Sunday, the chalk muralists vote on their favorite creations. An awards ceremony will be held on the steps of the Pasadena Convention Center, announcing the winners of each of the categories, including Best of Festival, Best Technique, Best 3-D Effect, Best Use of Color, Best Rendition of a Masterpiece, Most Humorous, Most Inspiration, On the Way to MOCA, Best in Animation, and Best New Artist. The public will be able to vote on the “People’s Choice Award.”

There’s a beer garden and concessions

The Pasadena Chalk Festival will feature a beer garden on the steps of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Fans and spectators can enjoy a selection of concessions and beverages while experiencing the artwork in action. Restrooms are provided inside the auditorium.

It raises money for local arts education nonprofits

The Pasadena Chalk Festival, produced by the Light Bringer Project, benefits vital arts and education programs to regional public schools. Each participating muralist is asked to donate a finished 1’ x 1’ canvas for the Art Gallery Silent Auction. The silent auction gallery will be on display throughout the weekend, for anhyone to enjoy and place their bid.

Getting around is easy

The Pasadena Chalk Festival is located on the Plaza of the Pasadena Convention Center, surrounded by Old Pasadena to the west and the Playhouse Village district to the east. The walkable city center provides the perfect home base for enjoying a weekend of art and the local charm. On-site parking is available at the Pasadena Convention Center at 175 South Euclid Avenue. Directions to on-site and alternative parking structures are available on the Pasadena Convention Center’s parking page. Pasadena is also accessible by a network of public transportation services that can be found on Visit Pasadena’s transportation page.

The Pasadena Chalk Festival is free, pet-friendly, and kid-friendly

Located in the pedestrian-friendly civic center district in Pasadena, the Pasadena Chalk Festival is as pet-friendly and kid-friendly as the rest of the town. Enjoy the marvelous architecture around the art festival with free admission for all ages, with the San Gabriel Mountains as the backdrop, and with the whole family in tow – just be sure to keep your pets leashed.

It’s a great place for photo ops

Be sure to arrive with a fully charged camera phone. There will be plenty of photo opportunities to commemorate the weekend. Remember to tag @visitpasadena and the @pasadenachalkfestival for a chance to be featured.

About Light Bringer Project

Light Bringer Project is a nonprofit Pasadena-based arts organization founded in 1990 by residents who were exploring the historic contributions that artists, architects and craftsmen made to the local environment. Inspired by these achievements, its founders imagined ways to bring more of today’s artists and their creative resources into the mainstream of community life. Today, the organization is widely known for delivering arts and educational programs to underserved youth in the greater Pasadena and Los Angeles areas. To learn more, visit Light Bringer Project’s website at www.lightbringerproject.org and follow it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Pasadena Center Operating Company

The Pasadena Center Operating Company is a non-profit 501(c)(4) dedicated to promoting Pasadena as a meeting and travel destination to maximize economic impact through the development of meetings, conventions, entertainment events and tourism by providing professionally managed facilities and first-class service. The Pasadena Center Operating Company operates the Pasadena Convention Center, Civic Auditorium, Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Ice-Skating Center. For more information, visit www.pasadenacenter.com.


Press photos available upon request.