When you learned to write the first few letters of the alphabet, where did you first try them out, outside of a book of lined paper?
Maybe the dining room wall, sure, with permanent markers. But if you live in Southern California you likely participated in the time-honored tradition of writing letters in the sand. Using wet beach as a blackboard is a-ok, as is moving to the sidewalk with chalk.
Those two whimsical favorites of youth merge at Redondo Beach Pier every late summer when the pieces of chalk -- many, many pieces -- are shaken from boxes for the annual Back-to-School Chalk Festival on the Pier.
It's free, it's colorful, and, yep, a lot of the pictures summon the spirit of the sea. And while it isn't sand writing, you're not far from the sand, meaning you can walk down to the water's edge and create a "rough draft" of your illustration, of sorts, in the sand, before you try it, for realsies, up on the pier in chalk.
And if you don't love your first try, on the beach canvas? The Pacific'll erase it in minutes.
Date? Saturday, Sept. 6. Time? Noon to 4 p.m. For families? For sure. Shall there be prizes? There shall be. And get there early: The first 150 artists nab free chalk.
But call the biggest prize hanging out on a pier drawing whales on the concrete. Redondo Beach has gotten a rep for supporting some of the most vibrant pay-nothing events around -- hello, gigantico Festival of the Kite -- and the September chalk-it-up taps into that breezy, sunny spirit.
Seriously: Why not use the sand to plot out what you'll draw on the pier? There's a reason beaches have served as temporary canvases throughout time.