BRADENTON -- It wasn't just your average art festival on Saturday.
Getting your hands dirty was not only acceptable, but requested.
Jerry Davis was fascinated as he watched artists creating murals at the "Get Your Hands Dirty with the Sarasota Chalk Festival" area at ArtSlam.
"I saw the one in Anna Maria Island, and I liked that so much, that is why I came here," Davis said.
Davis said he was amazed how the artists use a medium most people played with as children.
"I bet you never thought of anything like that, did you?" Davis said.
ArtSlam 2014, organized by Realize Bradenton, was celebration of music, performing and visual arts along downtown Bradenton's Old Main Street.
Executive Director Johnette Isham said she was very pleased was the event's return, after it took a hiatus in 2013, allowing the event to be moved from the fall to the spring.
"Oh my gosh, this is the best ArtSlam ever," Isham said. "There's about 15,000 people here."
Among the additions to this year's event were food truck wars, she said, where food trucks competed to prepare the best-tasting, best-looking and most original dish with secret ingredients ginger, green beans and chicken.
The trolleys and pedi-cabs that were taking ArtSlam-goers to off locations were also new and exciting, she said.
Many local artists had
an opportunity to display their work at the Outdoor Gallery Event with The Village Magazine. Among the works displayed were those of Tony Corbitt Jr.
"It's been great, a lot of foot traffic," Corbitt said. "I had to call for reinforcements for more business cards."
The local artist displayed pieces of art similar to those he creates live. His "speed painting" pieces are images he does on a black canvas using white paint, all in the duration of one song.
"I do this also to promote my oil paintings," Corbitt said.
Averi Lake, 10, was enjoying creating her own skateboard as part of the Design Your Own Skateboard with The Shop skateshop, which provided children a set of coloring pencils and a paper skateboard. Their creations were then posted on the wall.
"I love it because you get to do art too, not just look at it," Averil said. "I love art."
The Stuart Elementary student was creating a beach scene with a tiki beach shack.
"It's great because it's interactive," Averil said.
But children weren't the only ones participating.
Jeff Orlove created his own skateboard with a self-portrait and the words "I'm an artist."
And indeed he is an artist.
"I take classes at Manatee Art School," Orlove said.
He was accompanied by his family, which included his daughter, who is a sculptor, and his granddaughter, who is a cartoonist.
"It's a terrific event," Orlove said. "The nice thing is it lets the kids participate and the adults too. The nicest part is it's all free."
Jessica De Leon, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.