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Mandy Taylor and her family moved from Utah County to Tremonton about a year ago right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, so trying something different wasn’t exactly new to her.

“I’ve done art my whole life, but this is my first time working with chalk,” said Taylor, who was working on a colorful scene inspired by the mountains surrounding her new home. “It’s kind of an experiment, like everything I’m doing is an experiment.”

Next to her drawing were two more created by her 7-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, who had already finished their works of chalk art and moved on to participate in a kids’ craft fair down the sidewalk.

The Taylors were among dozens of people from the Bear River Valley and surrounding area who came to share their talents or just have a good time at the first-ever Tremonton Arts Festival. Organized by the Tremonton Arts Council, the festival last Saturday had Midland Square bustling with live music, crafts, vendors, food, and a general celebration of the arrival of summertime and the return of social gatherings.

The centerpiece of the festival, the Midland Square Chalk Affair chalk art contest, drew artists ranging from beginners to established pros who tour around the state and region for various chalk art shows.

In the latter category is Camille Grimshaw, who returned this year after taking Best in Show at last year’s affair. Camille and daughter Erin Grimshaw, who is also a previous award winner at the Tremonton event, came from South Jordan along with several other family members.

“We spend our weekends doing this,” Camille said. “It’s fun. All of us kind of travel around together, not intentionally, but you get to know the other artists and people.”

Following this year’s theme of “Unveiled Beauty,” some of the artists drew on their experiences of living during the pandemic. Kathryn Ellis, of Tremonton, said her mechanical frog drawing represented the two halves of her marriage to her husband — she the right-brained artist, he the analytically minded mechanical engineer, something she had been thinking about as they spent more time together while he was working from home.

Lisa Wyatt, of Bear River City, drew a woman throwing her arms skyward as she ran on an open beach, long robes streaming behind her in the imaginary breeze.

“I just thought about how excited I am that we’re opening back up and able to be a little more free again,” said Wyatt, who is in her third year as a chalk artist.

When she creates a work, she films the entire process, creates a short time-lapse video and posts it to her YouTube channel under the moniker “Lisa W Chalk Doll.” Wyatt uses her art to raise awareness and funding for causes that fight child trafficking.

Jenica Lore, a local who invited family members from all along the Wasatch Front to participate, said she returned after remembering the good feeling they got from the event last year.

“It was nice because it was the only thing that wasn’t canceled,” she said. “It was like ‘yeah, we got out!’”

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