Southwest Florida Reading Festival Draws Passionate Readers
Saturday was an outstanding Florida day for the annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival at Harborside Event Center in Old Fort Myers! With about 18,000 in attendance, the grounds teamed with passionate readers anxious to check out the newest books and authors on the scene.
The canvas-covered kiosks dotting the grounds displayed a wide range of products. Some focused on children's books and educational aids, while others represented schools, daycare centers, home school organizations, and parenting magazines. Basically, one could find any and everything designed to educate, involve, and stimulate the reader's mind. Plenty of food concessions were on hand, including one of my favorites, Jason's Deli, which had box lunches for only $5.
One large tented area was dedicated to book readings and activities for young children. Another catered to middle school and high school age youth. As I strolled past the children's area, I heard sounds of laughter and squeals of delight. When I peeked inside, I saw a radio show host doing an animated book reading that seemed to captivate both adults and children.
Meanwhile, inside the event center, more authors lectured and performed book readings. One large hall was dedicated to area booksellers and local authors. Writers displayed their books and were happy to sign and personalize them for willing buyers. Members of local writers organizations grouped together, including Pine Island Writers, Peace River Writers, and Gulf Coast Writers Association, of which I am a member. I set up my book table between 1 pm and 4 pm, and showcased Benny's Angel, the first book in God's Secret Garden Adventures, my picture book series for young children. That book soon will be joined by two more in the series - Fred D's Amazing Escape and Catie's Secret. You can get a preview of these two books in earlier posts.
When I do a book signing, one of the most enjoyable things for me is watching the children's faces as they look through the book. They seem to respond to the bright colors and animated appearance of the characters. The 3-D version of the book always grabs their attention, especially the boys. Saturday was enjoyable and productive for this author, as I sold and signed my book, networked, and shared writing experiences with fellow authors. For me, exchanging stories is a favorite part of author events.
If you have never attended the Southwest Florida Readers Festival, put it on your calendar for March 2014. If you go, allow plenty of time to park and figure on at least a couple of hours to wander about and visit the various areas of interest. There is so much for both adults and children to enjoy at this information-packed, fun-filled event.
~Laura Allen Nonemaker