Aspiring authors and bookworms alike can count on curling up with a unique festival this weekend.
This Saturday at the UCF Arena, the 3rd Annual UCF Book Festival will offer Central Florida citizens and the UCF community a full day of literary entertainment.
Put on by the Morgridge International Reading Center at UCF’s College of Education, the festival will include famous and local authors, book signings, discussion panels, exhibits and events for children.
D’Ann Rawlinson, the associate director of the Morgridge International Reading Center and co-chair of the marketing committee for the UCF Book Festival, said that the festival has worked hard to make this year’s installment the most diverse one yet.
“We’re trying to market it from the children to the adults and trying to be really diversified in different genres so we can get the community out there,” Rawlinson said. “The whole purpose of the festival is to really engage people in the love of reading.”
The event is split up into three zones: a festival zone, an author zone and a children’s zone. With events such as a cupcake demonstration by the Yum Yum Cupcake Truck, readings by authors including Nelson George, Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee, and author panels split up into genres like mystery, poetry and politics, the festival promises something for everyone.
Enrique Puig, the director of the UCF Book Festival for all three of its installments, said that this year’s events build off of years prior.
“Last year we experimented with bringing in authors of cookbooks and we added in a little more this year,” Puig said. “We’re also including illustrators of books, primarily children’s books, so we’re also including a panel of artists, which is a little bit different from last year’s.”
Puig also said that the attendance is building, with roughly 2,500 participants attending the first year, 3,500 participants coming last year and an expected turnout of more than 4,000 people this year.
There will be plenty of author signings, panel discussions and self-published authors presenting their own books at the festival, so participants can expect to not only see authors they’ve read and enjoyed, but discover new authors to explore as well, according to Puig.
In addition to these 50 authors, 40 exhibitors, including Orange County Public Schools, Scholastic Books and Barnes & Noble will also be showcasing products and organizations related to literacy.
Richard Sloane, the director of community and college relations at the UCF’s College of Education, handles gathering the exhibitors for the event and said that people have much to expect at this year’s festival.
“When people come to the book festival on Saturday, they can expect a myriad of activities: everything from intellectual discussion to fun activities for young people and older readers,” Sloane said. “It’s going to be a host of opportunities to broaden their horizons and increase and stoke their excitement about literature and reading.”
The festival begins at 9 a.m., and admission is free for everyone. For more information on the scheduled events, visit the festival’s website.