Hillside neighborhood trades traffic for art, food, gamesHillFest was held from 2-7 p.m. in a cordoned-off two-block stretch of Fourth Street intersecting Sixth Avenue East, where Central Hillside meets East Hillside.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
It didn’t take Stephen Pestalozzi long to transform the side of a building into abstract art at the third annual HillFest celebration Sunday in Duluth’s Central Hillside.
Blues and purples reigned on the wall, with splashes of pink and yellow just an hour after he started. More color would follow, he promised.
But you can’t force art.
Maybe he’d finish Sunday, maybe in a month, said Pestalozzi, 22, whose artist’s name is “This Is My War.”
Painting the brown board siding of 505 E. Fourth St., which houses the Chopsticks Inn, was done with the owner’s permission in an effort to create more public art in the neighborhood.
“When it’s all done,” Pestalozzi said of the wall, “there will be no meaning behind it, just people finding it pleasing, instead of a blank wall.”
“It will be here as long as the owner likes it,” he said.
And if the owner doesn’t like it?
Then it will probably be painted over, Pestalozzi said.
HillFest was held from 2-7 p.m. in a cordoned-off two-block stretch of Fourth Street intersecting Sixth Avenue East, where Central Hillside meets East Hillside.
“The objective is to bring the neighborhoods together,” said Mona Cheslak, the event’s co-chairperson. “Sixth Avenue East is such a barrier. It’s one of the busiest intersections in the city.”
Creating public art was among the activities going on that represented the neighborhood, said James Gittemeier, the other co-chairperson.
“It gives kids the opportunity to celebrate their neighborhood,” he said.
Children could make their own art by drawing on the street with chalk or painting pictures that the rain would eventually wash away.
Marie Houle had been looking forward to bringing her 4-year-old grandson, Darren, to the festival. As he blew bubbles with other children, she chatted with others and kept an eye on their wagon decorated with plants, both real and fake, for the non-motorized parade scheduled for later.
“I love it,” she said of HillFest. “I’ve been waiting for months to get here because they have so much to do for these little guys.”
That included craft projects, face painting, storytellers, a climbing wall, a street version of the board game Settlers of Catan and getting a close-up look at a Duluth firetruck. Besides kids’ activities, there were plenty of food and craft vendors, informational displays and live music.
Meanwhile, The Super Jerks, a group of teenagers from Superior, were street dancing on a trailer stage to the repetitive sounds of Young Sam, Marvel Inc., and the Rangers.
“It’s called jerkin,” explained 16-year old Dallas Robinson. “It originated in California and has been spreading around the country.”
The five “Super Jerks” walk around town and break out into dance, videotaping their dancing and posting their videos on YouTube, he said.
On a quieter end of the activities, sophisticated cuisine was the focus of the Iron Beet Chef Cook-Off held in front of the Whole Foods Co-op.
Chefs from seven Duluth-area restaurants presented original beet dishes to a panel of three judges.
The contest was part of the One Vegetable, One Community initiative to encourage people to grow, cook and eat fresh vegetables. The year’s focus is on beets, the 2012 Vegetable of the Year.
Cleaning their plates with each course, the judges appeared not to be pacing themselves. As they finished their fifth entry, they admitted they were getting full.
“But I’m so inspired by beets,” said judge Kristin Stuchis of the Hillside Public Orchard.
In the end, At Sara’s Table/Chester Creek Café got the Best of Show award for its beet ravioli dish.
For a time, Barb Russ stopped by the contest. She had walked more than a mile to the event and found it to be a bigger festival than its first two years, when it was held in late September.
“I think it’s fabulous,” Russ said. “If you go to New York City, there’s some kind of street festival every weekend in Manhattan. So I think we should do more of this.”