By Karli Ragan
Those Hawaiian-print button-downs, leis, flip-flops, straw hats and sunblock-slathered noses that you’re seeing…no, you haven’t been whisked off to the white sands of Waikiki.
You’re just strolling along the streets of downtown Chandler, transformed for one magical evening into a tropical paradise.
From 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, April 21, a Hawaiian-themed affair, Taste of the Islands—theme of the month’s pre-summer Chandler Art Walk—will feature artisan shopping, live music by Corona del Sol High School’s steel drum band, and tropical food and drink specials available for purchase.
Best of all, you can save your money for a real trip to the beach: The event is free to attend.
“The best part is the island-inspired treats and sips the participating downtown Chandler merchants have available for purchase,” event coordinator Deanne Fenton says.
Included last year were over 12 specials from nine different downtown Chandler businesses. Offerings included food items like a Hawaiian luau plate, pulled-pork sandwich, Hawaiian-style pizza, piña colada milkshake or paleta, and 21-and-over drinks with names like Life on the Rum and Vacation in a Glass.
The group is expecting the same merchant participants this year, and perhaps a few more. Participating merchants and their specials will be announced on a Facebook event listing in the weeks leading up to the event.
For the shopping part of the event, guests can peruse pieces from over 30 local artists in Dr. AJ Chandler Park West and along the sidewalks of San Marcos Place, starting at SanTan Brewing Co. and heading south.
Artisan pieces range from jewelry, woodworked items, paintings, illustrations and more.
Many vendors sell items at $50 or less, designed to make art truly affordable for all.
Every month ushers in new artists, making the event a different experience each time.
Guests should come prepared for island-style boogie-ing to the tunes of Corona del Sol’s steel drum band.
In addition, guests are asked to dress the part of a tourist on a tropical beach.
“The point of this walk is to celebrate the upcoming summer the best way we know how, pretending you’re on a beach,” says Fenton.
“This has everything but the water. And if you’re wanting to swim in crystal blue waters? Book a room at the historic San Marcos Hotel, where you can lay poolside and not have to worry about getting a ride after two or three of those rum drinks.”
Address of the event is 3 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler. Information: downtownchandler.org.
Karli Ragan is marketing and events manager for Downtown Chandler Community Partnership.