SARASOTA, Fla. -

Chalk: it's not just for blackboards.

The annual Sarasota Chalk Festival begins this week and runs through Nov. 6.

The world's top street artists create temporary works of art on the pavement, while sketching and "painting" on the asphalt with chalk. Some pieces are similar to Renaissance paintings, while others are mind-bending 3D images of futuristic robots and lifelike chess sets.

The theme of this year's festival is Circus City USA -- a nod to the city's heritage as the headquarters for the Ringling Bros. Circus.

The festival's main events, including a high-wire act by Nik Wallenda, are scheduled for Thursday.