When many people think of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, they picture colorful paintings, vibrant music and crowds filled with State College residents, Penn State students and alumni.
What some may not realize is that the annual festival also honors the literary world through "BookFest," a daylong event that allows attendees to explore books and meet various authors and artists.
The 11th annual BookFest will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday in the parking lot of the Schlow Centre Region Library.
The following authors will attend this year's event:
-Judy Ann Davis
-J. L. Delozier
-Gayle C. Krause
-K. B. Laugheed
This year, BookFest partnered with Comic Swap, Jason Lenox, the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, the Schlow Library Foundation, Setsucon and Usborne Books to help the event take place.
Over 20 authors and artists will make an appearance at the event. A diverse selection of books will be represented, including science fiction novels, children's fiction, romance novels, comic books and graphic novels.
As one of the many authors who will attend BookFest, Cathy Breisacher said BookFest gives community members the unique opportunity to engage and interact with the work of many talented and creative people.
Breisacher, who is an elementary school librarian and author of several children's books, said this is the first BookFest she will attend, and is excited to see the event bring book lovers and creators together.
"Books connect people in such a special way, just like the arts and festivals do, too," Breisacher said via email. "The Central PA Festival of the Arts is all of this – books, art, people, and connections. I’m really excited to be a part of it, and I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones."
BookFest will also feature several activities throughout the day. Local artist Seth Young will draw caricatures of attendees. According to Arts Fest's website, prices vary for drawings.
For cosplay fans, a costume contest will judge who has the best comic or pop culture costume. From 1 to 3 p.m., participants can register at the Setsucon Costume Contest check-in table in the BookFest tent.
Setsucon, a local anime and manga convention planner, is sponsoring the contest through a new partnership with BookFest, according to Maria Burchill, Schlow Library's head of adult services.
Participants can win in the following categories: best overall/handmade, most accurate, best duo, best kids, best anime/comic, and best TV/movie/book.
Winners, which will be announced at 3 p.m., will receive a badge to attend Setsucon 2020, a two-day anime convention scheduled for Jan. 25-26, 2020 in Altoona.
In addition, a presentation in Schlow's Downsbrough Community Room will award Andrea Davis Pinkney with the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for her book "Martin Rising: Requiem for a King." The presentation will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Burchill said Pinkney will attend the event to accept her prize, speak for a bit and sign books. Pinkney, who is a New York Times bestselling author, has written books for children and young adults, including picture books, novels, and works of historical fiction and nonfiction.
For attendees, the event serves as a way to celebrate the beauty and impact of books with authors and book lovers from across the country.
Jodi Moore, a children's book author, has attended BookFest for numerous years, and described participating in the annual event as "an honor and a thrill."
"There's nothing I love more than meeting other authors and illustrators, as well as connecting with book lovers," Moore said via email.
She added that one of her favorite aspects of the event is that it directly benefits the library.
Graphic illustrator and sequential artist Lexie Rusnak has also attended the event for several years. Rusnak, who is also known by the pen name "areyoshi," said they continue returning to BookFest because of the "amazing staff" at Schlow Library.
"[The Schlow Library staff has] been nothing but kind and accommodating since the start, and the resulting experience is worthwhile for both authors and attendees," Rusnak said via email.
To Rusnak, BookFest is an important aspect of Arts Fest because it allows the festival to embrace a broader picture of what art is.
"The written word is an art of its own, and all types of art should be accessible to the general public," Rusnak said. "Adding a book component to such a large festival is a great way to spread awareness of what local authors have available and how they can be supported."