For the sixth time, the AJC Decatur Book Festival is upon us! It’s a time to celebrate, certainly, and briefly, to reflect. There are lots of folks who deserve the credit for making it happen for the first time. These days you don’t always hear the name of Alice Murray and the Georgia Center for the Book connected with the beginnings, but they had critical roles. Alice was among the earliest visionaries; she knew that the AJC should play a big part in it, and she helped make that happen. Without the AJC, I don’t know how the festival would have endured. And the Georgia Center for the Book was right in the middle of the creation, imagining (along with Alice and others) the great things that could happen if Decatur got a book festival. (And Alice has been the festival’s life-saving president ever since its inception; no one merits more gratitude.)
That, of course, is how it started. What matters now is what’s going to happen over this Labor Day weekend. I think I can maker a few guarantees. First, there will be another crowd of 60,000 people enjoying the festival. Second, nearly all of them are going to have a blast. And third, parking will be a mess unless more folks decide to walk or use MARTA.
There will be well over 150 authors plus a stage full of “emerging writers” and no lack of wonderful things to do and hear on Saturday and Sunday. That’s a credit to the festival planners, who put together an event that is stocked with attractions in spite of serious budget considerations. Thanks, too, go to the sponsors who year after year have supported the festival and ensured its survival in an economy not always friendly to such activities.
So, how will you plan your weekend? You an go online (www.decaturbookfestival.com) to find an author you’d like to see and when that author is appearing. There’s also a printed guide which has some good information, but it lacks biographies of the writers and can be a bit difficult to search for a specific event during the weekend. I’d suggest taking some time to do your planning before the weekend gets here. There are so many terrific programs that you don’t want to miss one by accident. And please note that this year’s festival is probably more kid-friendly than ever before; the number of programs designed for everyone from the youngest readers to teens should draw enthusiastic responses. Don’t hesitate to bring the entire family.
We’ll see you there!