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This year, the Be Downtown festival in Bettendorf encourages everyone to celebrate the arts, food and community of Bettendorf.

In its second year, the festival will be noon-10 p.m. Saturday, June 8, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 9, with music, food and a sidewalk chalk art competition.

"There's some exciting things coming with the bridge getting finished up and some more development, some more walk-ability," said Ryan Jantzi, Downtown Bettendorf manager of operations.

Pointing to the Bridges Lofts as an example of new development, Jantzi said the festival was about creating a sense of community, sense of place and pride.

This year, the festival has expanded to two days, and adds the Quad-Cities Arts' Chalk Art Fest at the new Ascentra Credit Union headquarters on State St. between 20th and 21st streets. Quad-Cities Arts' Marketing and Sponsorship Director Karle Gilson said the festival has 57 teams of artists set to participate.

The Chalk Art Fest started in downtown Davenport as part of the Alternating Currents festival, Gilson said, moved for logistical reasons. "We found an opportunity to partner with Downtown Bettendorf with the Be Downtown event," she said. "They are looking to revitalize downtown and want to showcase all that there is to do downtown, we thought this would be a great fit there for our summer arts festival." 

For Chalk Art Fest, artists take to the streets to transform plain pavement into works of art. Over two days, artists compete for $1,500 in cash prizes. "It's a wonderful way for the community to come down and interact with artists, see all of these great works to be done," Gilson said. There also is a community area, for non-artists to participate.

One of the important aspects of Be Downtown is its partnerships with local businesses. Among the things to do at the festival are the K&K Fun Zone with free bounce houses, street art, face painting and activities with the Bettendorf Library. 

"Home is what you make it is kind of one of my monikers, and so I want them to be involved," Jantzi said. "My organization, which we're in the process of creating, is designed to help them grow and help them reach their financial goals and stuff like that.

"We want to make sure that we collaborate with them to get ideas on how this event can grow and how to make it better, because at the end of the day my job is to bring people downtown and bring people into their businesses to help them grow." 

The event will also feature live music in two locations, a virtual reality representation of the I-74 Bridge on the fifth floor of the Bridges Lofts and food and drink.

For more information, visit downtownbettendorf.org or quadcityarts.org.

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