This past weekend, we attended the Tucson Festival of Books at the University of Arizona. As the fourth largest book festival in the United States, the event draws over 120,000 people and raised over $900,000 for literacy organizations in the first four years.
With over 200 exhibitors and 300 presentations by local and national authors, the crowds are intense. Even so, there’s something remarkable about bringing people together to celebrate the written word.
I am proud to live in a city that esteems writers, encourages readers, and promotes literacy in such a visible way.
The Children’s Area is always a particular draw for our family. Our girls love getting photos taken with storybook characters, participating in craft projects, and watching an eclectic mix of shows (magicians! jumpropers! violinists!). The Free Book Tent is also a must-do, where every child who attends the event can select a free new book to take home. My 7-year-old even went so far as to say that the TFOB was almost as much fun as Disneyland!
The outdoor “fair” portion of the festival is only one small piece of the event. Inside the university classrooms, there are “standing room only” workshops and sessions about writing, publishing, education, reading, and social media. Best of all, it’s FREE. Free admission, free parking, free sessions. A completely cost-free conference is available to all who attend.
As an avid reader, a frequent library visitor, a bookstore tourist, a picture book collector, and a writer of many forms, the Tucson Festival of Books is an event that I enthusiastically look forward to each year.
In fact, I’ve already marked my calendar for 2015.
Take note of my 7-year-old’s “wish” on the Wishing Tree. ;)
Have you ever been to a book festival?