WILKES-BARRE -- Despite the chilly temperatures on Saturday, the third annual River Common ChalkFest provided opportunity for area children and adults to celebrate the Susquehanna River in a colorful, creative way.
People filled Millennium Circle to enjoy a wonderful view, educational and environmental displays and the opportunity to share a bit of artistry with chalk provided for a $1 donation.
The area filled with color during the event as attendees' drawing graced the concrete areas of the circle.
"ChalkFest focuses on collaboration and creativity for children within our community," said Justin Correll, a member of the River Front Parks Board of Directors and a teacher in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District.
Correll, an event planner, said he was happy to see children excited by the chance to share their artistic ability and to learn about environmental issues "in a fun way."
John Maday, executive director of the committee, said he was especially happy that after last year's flooding, residents are once again enjoying the benefits of the river that runs through the valley.
Maday, also the chairman of membership services for the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, said community leaders from other areas are amazed by the river's beauty and its parks, and the opportunities the waterway provides for recreation and fellowship.
"We need to both respect and enjoy the river," Maday said.
The event was also filled with many enthusiastic volunteers, including Wilkes University Integrative Media and Art Department members Erin Gallagher and Ashleigh Crispell. The two assisted area artist Leigh Pawling, Kingston, in presenting event information using works of chalk art.
Event coordinator Jill Price lauded event volunteers for making success possible. She also emphasized the importance of educating area children about the river through RiverFest and other events. She said part of the importance of the event was collectively "making memories as a community."
Ed Ciarimboli, Shavertown, and daughter, Contessa, 4, shared this positive spirit as they made their way through the festival. Contessa, sporting a big smile and filled with energy, was looking forward to having a good time with her dad.
New this year at ChalkFest was Hydromania, an interactive presentation educating attendees about the importance of protecting our water supply as a natural resource. The activity, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act, also emphasized positive and negative influences of human activity on our water supply.
The event included a bake sale to raise money for future events.
Maday expressed gratitude for event sponsorship, including Jack Williams Tire and Auto and Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank, represented at the festival by Donna Farrell, senior vice president and regional manager made a $1,000 donation to the Riverfront Parks committee during ChalkFest, saying that the organization was more than happy for the opportunity to contribute to the community.