Pack up the family and head to Santa Barbara this Memorial Day weekend for some sunny weather, local fare and... chalk painting? You betcha! The Santa Barbara Mission is home to a three-day, Italian-style chalk art festival that is colorful fun for both children and adults.
An artist finishing up a masterpiece at the 2012 I Madonnari Festival — Photo courtesy of I Madonnari
Madonarri is the Italian term for 'street painters' and that's exactly what you'll see taking place in the Mission plaza. Watch as more than a hundred artists use pastels to paint vibrant images from start to finish in just three days. Their works not only look good, they do good, too! This festival benefits the Children's Creative Project, a nonprofit arts education program.
In addition to great artwork being chalked right beneath your feet, there is also live music and an Italian Market set up adjacent to the festival. Stroll from tent to tent and seize this opportunity to sample Italian cuisine. You can shop for specialty souvenirs and more from local vendors.
Enjoy local food and shop for arts and crafts at the temporary Italian Market — Photo courtesy of I Madonnari
Festival hours are 10 am to 6 pm daily, and admission is free. The artwork is left untouched after the festival, so you might still have a chance to see it even if you weren't able to make it over Memorial Day... just cross your fingers that it doesn't rain!