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Chalk it up to Albany

Central Avenue BID, Equinox hold sidewalk art contest to coincide with Tulip Fest

Carimar Soto, 16, works on her mural about renewal. "It's a maze game where if you die, you get another chance to do it again and make a better choice," Soto explains. The murals were done in preparation for the upcoming "Drawing Up Central" sidewalk chalk art contest, Saturday May 11, 10am-2pm. Part of Tulip Fest, the contest will take place on lower Central Avenue between Henry Johnson Blvd. and Lexington Avenues, and feature the work of artists from across the region, including youth from the Equinox Youth Outreach Center.

Carimar Soto, 16, works on her mural about renewal. "It's a maze game where if you die, you get another chance to do it again and make a better choice," Soto explains. The murals were done in preparation for the upcoming "Drawing Up Central" sidewalk chalk art contest, Saturday May 11, 10am-2pm. Part of Tulip Fest, the contest will take place on lower Central Avenue between Henry Johnson Blvd. and Lexington Avenues, and feature the work of artists from across the region, including youth from the Equinox Youth Outreach Center.

Belmont said a grant from the Albany County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau has enabled them to give out a cash prize of $500 to the adult winner. The youth winner will receive an iPod Nano and gift certificates from local businesses.

“Another category as a way to open it up more to community participation is a Central’s Choice Award which is kind of like a People’s Choice Award,” said Belmont.

Visitors will have a chance to cast a ballot for their favorite creation. The winner of the Central’s Choice Award will receive gift certificates from area businesses.

Belmont said she hopes the event will raise awareness about what Central Avenue has to offer.

“Come and do your shopping, come eat great food – we have 74 different restaurants from 19 different countries on Central Avenue – a fact that I think people are not fully aware of,” she said. “We hope people will come out, maybe grab a bite to eat, maybe come into one of the businesses and see what they have to offer.”

Equinox and Central BID officials hope participation in “Drawing Up Central” will be buoyed by its partnership with Tulip Fest, which draws thousands to downtown Albany every May.

Jason Bonafide, the public relations coordinator for the City of Albany, said the chalk contest was a nice addition to Tulip Fest’s events.

“It’s within walking distance so we hope that everyone will check out both the sidewalk and Tulip Fest that day,” Bonafide said.

Tulip Fest activities begin on Friday with the tradition of scrubbing State Street.

“It goes back to very early festivals. It’s an old Dutch tradition where before a big event people would go out and clean the streets. We have people in Dutch garb and Boy Scouts scrubbing the streets with long-handled brooms and buckets of soapy water,” Bonafide said. “It’s a pretty interesting event if you haven’t seen it before.”

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