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Chalk on the Walk - Frequently Asked Questions
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When is it?

 Sunday, Octobr 8, 2023 at Harvard Sqauare's Oktoberfest celebration


Where is it?

On Church Street in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Begins at the corner of Brattle Street and Church Street, stretching along Church Street.


Questions and Answers for Artists


Does it cost to participate?

No, participation is free!


What type of chalks are used?

We usually supply Prang Gallery 12 Freart chalks as the basic supply. Each new box of chalk contains 12 colors . There are also a couple dozen additional colors and boxes of used chalk pieces available for switching around with other artists to put together enough of the colors you may need. There's usually a shortage of black (very hard to get) and we have a supply of charcoal briquettes as a good alternative.


May I bring my own chalk?

We supply washable sidewalk-type chalk and pastels; however, it is permitted for you to bring your own as long as they are okay for sidewalk use (no acrylics, no liquids).


Where do I pick up the chalk?

At the registration desk located at the corner of Church and Brattle Streets.


What if I need more chalk? 

We've got plenty of extra chalk, but feel free to swap with your neighbors for colors you need and/or aren't using.  At the end of the day, you can either keep your chalks or bring the extra back to the chalk table. Chalk we are no longer able to use are donated to "Our Place," the day care center for homeless children run by the Salvation Army.


What should I bring with me?

A hat to block the sun, water or other beverage, something to sit/kneel on. Many artists use disposable latex gloves to protect their hands. If you are registered, you will be sent a list of items to bring and not bring (boom boxes, dogs) along with directions.


When can I start working?

10:00 a.m. is the official start time. We're not permitted to start earlier for safety reasons as vehicles can be on the street until 10:00 a.m.


How long does it take?

Most artists finish in a couple of hours, but there is no real time limit. If you wish to compete for the prizes, you must be finished by 3:00 p.m., which is when the judging begins.


When are prizes awarded?

Prizes are awarded at 3:30 p.m. If you are not there in person, we will mail your prize to you (make sure you complete all the contact info on the artists form).


Do I need a sponsor?

Great if you do have a sponsor, but if you don't have one, we will match you with one. There are approximately 65 squares available from sponsors. If you aren't registered in advance, there may not be a square available for you on the day of the event.


Can I register at the event?

Yes, but only if there is space available. If you haven't registered, please come early.


Can I bring someone to help me?

By all means, the more the merrier! We have several "teams" that regularly participate.



General Questions


Are children allowed to participate?

Yes, we encourage kids under 12. 


What happens to the drawings?

Sadly they are washed away at the end of the day. However, we do photograph them all and post them on our website. Feel free to take as many pictures as you would like.


What happens if it rains?

If it is a light rain, we do it anyway and hope it stops. Bring plastic sheeting if the skies look threatening. Anything heavier, the whole Oktoberfest event is postponed. Rain date is tentatively October 15, 2023.


Where does the money go?

Chal on the Walk is the annual fundraiser for the Cambridge Rotary Educational Fund, Inc., a Club-sponsored 501(c)3 nonproft that makes grants to  educational and charitable organizations. A list of past beneficiaries is on the Chalk on the Walk > Beneficiaries page of this website.


What is Cambridge Rotary?

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who believe in the ideal of Service Above Self. Its goal is to build a better world, emphasizing service activities by individuals and groups that enhance the quality of life and human dignity, encouraging high ethical standards and creating peace in the world.  In nearly 200 countries worldwide, 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 35,000 Rotary clubs that provide opportunities for local business people to serve their community in a wide variety of ways.


Will there be refreshments/sanitary facilities?

Oktoberfest has a food festival as part of the program and there will be facilities all through Harvard Square.



Questions and Answers for Sponsors


What does it cost to participate?

From  $300 to $1,000 for regular sponsors , the amount depending on the size of the square you sponsor. The biggest squares(10' x 12') are $1,000. Champion Sponsorships are available for $1,500.  The form  for  sponsorship is on this website.


How is my name/business displayed?

Each square has a display sign with the name of the sponsor. Additionally, large posters with the names of all the sponsors are at each end of the Chalk on the Walk space.


How many people attend?

On average the Harvard Square Oktoberfest draws over 100,000 attendees each year.


Do I have to provide an artist?

Perhaps you have a talented employee or a talented customer who may deserve a treat. It's a lot of fun to put together a team of employees. But, if none of these appeals, the Rotary Club of Cambridge will be happy to provide an artist for you.


Can I have the artist produce an image of my chosing?

No words or symbols intended as advertising may appear within the image.  


Is the cost tax deductible?

Yes, both as a charitable donation and an advertising business expense.  Please contact your accounting consultant for details. 


Can I have more than one artist draw on my spot (a team)?

Yes. Some corporate sponsors put together employee teams as a fun event. You may want to challenge one of your competitors to a friendly contest!


How long does it take?

Most artists finish in a couple of hours, but there is no time limit. 10:00 a.m. is the starting time. Judging for prizes begin at 3:00 p.m.