Via Colori Festival – Columbus, Ohio – My Experience

The other festival referred to in this posting (which does not involve chalk drawings) is the Independents’ Day Festival. This is why it’s referred to as a “Quasi-Review” on the Festival Schedule Page.

This post documents my experience on September 19, 2009.

I arrived in downtown Columbus without a problem, eventually finding the 2 street blocks closed on Gay Street. As I went from one one-way street to the next, I found myself a parking lot or two with an automated machine.

Unfortunately, the machine wanted 6 bucks.

Figuring I’d only be at the festival not more than an hour, I found a metered parking spot at the end of an alley – only to notice a guy lingering on the street in the rear view mirror.

So I drove into the street, saw another spot too late as traffic came behind me and swung around the block to get the spot on a second try. It was during that circling attempt that I found my friend and his family crossing a street and heading to the festival.

I waved and went back for my spot, having to go passed my abandoned alley spot in the process. I turned the corner and, alas, my spot was just taken. So I shot around again and parked back in the alley spot, collecting quarters from the cup holder.

My friend and his family arrived just as I plopped 4 quarters in the meter, which only gave me 52 minutes. Then my friend looked at the meter and told me it wasn’t enforced after 6 pm…

…and it was 5:59.

We marched on down Gay Street into the area where traffic was forbidden to enter and festival goers thrived. The music slowly made its way to our ears. Apparently, a second festival had joined this one with local independent bands.

Things looked promising.

Along Gay Street, there were the chalk drawings mostly along the northern sidewalks. In the first block, there weren’t all that many…

…but there were a decent amount in the second.


But let’s get back to the chalk drawings later…

Booths also lined the streets, representing radio stations, craft vendors or anything else under the sun. One booth offered “almost” Free Hugs, including various types like Robo-Hugs. I really should have informed myself better on this, but there were some rather violent-sounding hug names included in the list. I just didn’t feel like taking my chances.

Plus, I should add, next to the Hug Booth, there was a cookie booth with free samples. It was here that I found myself nabbing pieces of chocolate chip and some other kind of cookie. It was also near here that I mentioned the word “pawpaw” and was taken by surprise by a spinning (and possibly drunk) girl who called out, “PAWPAW! Did you say ‘pawpaw’?”

To which she talked with us for a good 5 minutes on how she was convinced that her friends were trying to trick her into believing in a fictitious fruit.

After ranging through various emotions…
1.) excitement – the pawpaws exist
2.) sadness – no car to get to the festival the next day
3.) curiosity – wondering what the pawpaws looked/tasted like
4.) desperation – wanting to have a pawpaw NOW
5.) suspicion – being told that I had pawpaws in my trunk (I wouldn’t have gone either)

…she left us and, in a matter of 2 minutes, found a beer and befriended a couple in a corner next to the beer hut (Pabst Blue Ribbon was the official beer of the festival, I should add).

So that’s why I didn’t get a hug. But here’s a side pic.

Click for the “almost.”.

Between the two blocks, in the middle of the festival, was Pearl Alley, which ran south for a block. Here, there were vendors galore of jewelry, art, clothing, food and everything else under the sun.


Down Pearl Alley, we saw…

…a cool mural…

…that circled around a pizza shop…

…a continuous interactive mural that people were working on…

…and I loved this corner…

…tattoo ideas…

…and Elvis (the guy in the background, I think, is mauling his boyfriend).

At the end of Pearl Alley, there was a band and crowd blocking the way, so we turned around and headed back to see the rest of Gay Street. At the end of Gay Street, there would be another band or so blocking the end..

We listened to some music, which definitely varied in style/genre from band to band. A very cool thing, but we were getting hungry and it was getting on 7. So we decided to call it a day and head back to the car. Remember that I left at 9:45 that morn. :-)

And so, my festivals were finished for the day. It was time to go get some sushi.

Enjoy the art…