The Benefits of Book Festivals


I have yet to leave one book festival not galvanized by the experience. If it’s not for returning home thinking about what I want to do differently at the next festival, then it’s being energized by so many books and authors at one time.

Saturday, August 29th I participated in a book festival at the 50 & Over 2015 Reunion located in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The event was (of course) tremendous, a picture that has been playing in my mind over and over.

First it was the location. Yes, I squealed and occasionally screamed getting there, perhaps annoying my husband who drove, and our other back-seat driver, but that was only because the scenery riding through the mountains was so breathtaking.

- Graciously the weather was picture perfect. Couldn’t have asked for a prettier day to add to the magic.

- The facility at Lorain Borough Park was nice and clean, and the pavilions a perfect setting to accommodate the various activities held at the reunion, rain or shine.

- The food, oh my goodness! Let me put it this way. My taste buds, and everyone who came with me said, “Whoever breaded that catfish is a CHOPPED cook champion!”

- It’s always a special treat connecting with authors; some I remembered from past events, and others I met for the first time…Dr. Clea Patrick Hollis, Renee Flagler, Dionne Peart, Dr. Hattie N. Washington, Nanette Buchanan, and Nicki Night

- And there’s no denying the wealth of inspiration, wisdom and support that can be garnered from a 50 & over crowd.

- Engaging with Readers brings me to the highlight of what made this event so significant. I must admit, being an avid reader myself, I’m usually so captivated by the books capsizing my attention that I rarely spend quality time engaging with other readers. Welp, this time I did, and it felt good.

- It was as energizing as meeting many Johnstownians who motivated me to read more about the history of this wonderful city. ‘The Saga of the Johnstown City Schools’ by Clea Hollis looks like a great place to start.

- To this misty-eyed nostalgic end I sincerely thank the Johnstown community for supporting our books. Big Bully was my #1 seller at this event, and I am humbly grateful.

- Which all hones in on one sovereign influence of book festivals. Sharon Lucas, one of the greatest reading divas I know, the founding member and president of Real Divas Read book club, gets my standing ovation for her continued work in bringing readers and authors together. The diva, yes she did, rocked it again!

Short story. For health reasons, had I looked into the travel distance prior to the event, it may have given me cause to pause. But when I asked one of the authors about traveling from New York to attend the event, and she replied she would do anything for Sharon, the weight of her reply touched me deeply. For a reading diva to inspire this type of loyalty not only reveals a supreme benefit of book festivals, it highlights a genuine reading advocate walking the talk.

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