Dark skies threatened to rain out Uptown Westerville's rescheduled Rock the 'Ville, but merchants, musicians and chalk artists persisted, determined to hold the event rain or shine.

Dark skies threatened to rain out Uptown Westerville's rescheduled Rock the 'Ville, but merchants, musicians and chalk artists persisted, determined to hold the event rain or shine.

An earlier attempt Aug. 13 was canceled because of heavy downpours and a thunderstorm, although a band or two managed to move inside to perform at local shops such as Pure Roots and Java Central.

Sponsored by Westerville Uptown Merchants Association, the rescheduled event Sept. 17 featured professional chalk artists competing for monetary prizes and several local musicians performing at the City Hall stage on South State Street and in front of Westerville Automotive on East Main Street.

Debbie Bennati, owner of A Shop Named Cinda Lou, helped chalk artists cover up works in progress several times during the early afternoon.

"We did not want to cancel and wanted to have the event rain or shine," she said. "We like to support the arts and it's a chance for people to browse the shops and see what we have."

Several chalk artists worked diligently on College Avenue and State Street, covering the work with blue tarps when raindrops began to fall. By late afternoon, the rain let up long enough to finish the artwork.

Featured artists were Ginny Baughman, O'Linda Jansupka, Jan Solari, Hilary Frambes, Cassandra and Lindsay Blusiewicz and Meena Maynard.

The artists were sponsored by local merchants and organizations, including the Westerville Arts Council, Amish Originals, Buckeye Brewcraft, Ohio Art Market, Columbus Running Co. and Union Savings Bank.

Twin sisters Cassandra and Lindsay Blusiewicz worked on a chalk painting of a Boston terrier with a vinyl record in his mouth. Both graduated from Otterbein University, in art and design and graphic arts.

"We enjoy working together and going to chalk festival events," Lindsay Blusiewicz said.

Frambes worked on a large headshot-type portrait of the rock singer Debbie Harry, formerly the lead singer of Blondie.

"It seemed appropriate to feature Blondie, because of the rock and roll theme," she said.

Frambes has won awards at several chalk art events and will be competing Oct. 21 at the Clearwater Beach Chalk Art Festival.

Jansupka mixed chalk and water together to get a paint-like mix for her work.

The owner of Streets-martart.net, she said chalk painting "is the perfect blend of performance and painting."

The tradition of street painting began in Italy in the 16th century, according to information on her website.

Musicians featured throughout the day included Luke Mossburg, the Castros and Xioma, Hi-Fidelity, Beka Brumbaugh, Corey Conkel, Chris & Rose, The Third Row, Avery McKinley and Sam & Ro.

Artist cash prizes were provided by a grant from the Ohio Humanities Council and Westerville Uptown Merchants Association.

Coming up this weekend is the Westerville Visitors & Convention Bureau's last 4th Friday event of the season, the Mount Carmel St. Ann's Fall Fest, from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, in Uptown Westerville.

Fall Fest will feature displays and activities that highlight Westerville City Schools.

A "Maker Space" will be available in front of Hanby Elementary School, 56 S. State St., for visitors interested in getting creative with hands-on activities.

The shops in Uptown also are expected to stay open later than usual and food trucks will add additional dinner choices besides those of numerous Uptown restaurants.

@PamelaThisWeek