It was a wild and wonderful time this past Saturday at the 10th annual Children's Festival of Reading. This was my third year of offering my FREE AUTHOR PROMOTION booth at the festival and the crowds were as big as ever. Even the weather was in my favor. Since I'm allergic to the sun, I know working this festival is always a bit hard on me but this past weekend Mother Nature was kind to me...cloudy and a high of 60 was right up my alley!
My booth was like a three ring circus and here are pictures to prove it! At one table kids could decorate silly bookmarks on their own and register for the free book giveaway. At another table kids could see all the wonderful books that were donated by generous authors all over the world. The third table had all the free bookmarks, posters, postcards, magnets, stickers and other swag items I had been sent. I had teachers coming up to me and asking if they could take enough bookmarks for all their students and of course, I said yes!
Susanna's board books were the winners again this year with the younger kids and the parents loved all the adventure or mystery novels I had on hand, but the number one attraction on Saturday seemed to be Penny Lockwood's book BOO'S BAD DAY. More often than not anyone walking up to the table would pick up that book first and thumb through it before grabbing a bookmark or registering for the drawing.
My booth sat across from delicious food tents like hot dogs, pizza, smoked sausages, popcorn, funnel cakes...you name it and I could smell it! Funny thing about it though is the fact I never had a chance to even try any of it because I stayed busy talking to people from about 9:30 that morning until the festival ended at 3 pm. I left my sister in charge only long enough to LITERALLY run a circle around World's Fair Park so I could take some pictures and have a bathroom break.
This is what one aisle of tents looked like from my booth just minutes before the festival opened for the crowds. I haven't read the numbers yet, but I'm pretty sure despite the chilly weather there were still 12-15,000 people attending the weekend festivities.
Look who led the Parade of Books this year...Llama Llama! To the left of him was the mascot chicken from the Tennessee Valley Fair...another event drawing thousands of people to my city each year in September.
Here is one of my students and the daughter of a local author as she carries a placard advertising THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON in the Parade of Books.
Of course I HAD to take a picture of Sudipta's cute book CHICKS RUN WILD!
Not too far from my booth and certainly within listening distance was one of the author performance stages. While I didn't get a chance to actually attend one of these talks, I could hear the wonderful chats and story performances going on...even got to see one of the illustrators show off their talent...all from a distance but the crowds sure looked like they were enjoying it!
This is probably one of my favorite booths at the festival. Every year there is a company who brings in their inflatable "pets" for the children to buy. I saw chickens, ladybugs, dogs, cats, dinosaurs, pigs...you name it and they probably had them. The pets were helium balloons but had those crinkly feet so the animals could bounce along the ground after it's "owner".
Here authors are getting ready to sign their books. There would be six authors at these tables at one time and you could get in line and go from one to another...taking pictures, having your books autographed, chatting with them. It was so cool to see the kids get so excited when they realized they were seeing a real, live AUTHOR sitting in front of them!
Every year I promise myself I will make time to visit THIS booth and every year I don't make it. This is the new and used book tent which supports our local library. They sell those books for between 50 cents up to about 3 dollars. With a limited budget like I have I could make a killing buying tons of books there but I never have the time...lol...
Well, there you have it...another successful festival weekend and all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you to all my author friends who were so generous with their autographed books and other swag items. I honestly don't know if my FREE AUTHOR PROMOTION helps increase sales of the donated books but what I DO know is thousands of people got a chance to see those books at my booth on Saturday. All day long parents kept telling me how their children love to read books and I saw the excitement on the children's faces when they would pick up one of those books and thumb through them like they had discovered some magical treasure. THAT is why I am a writer and I hope one day a child will have that same look on their face when they hold one of MY books in their hands.