The Los Angeles Festival of Books
Usually the heat is scorching, but at this year's Festival of Books at UCLA, it was chilly and windy. But that did not stop people from coming. Comic book fans, mystery lovers, and literature enthusiasts, over 100,000 of them came. The event sponsored by the Los Angeles Times was held over the weekend on April 25 and 26 at the UCLA campus. The event was in its 13th year and over 130,000 people according to the L.A. times came for the love of books.
Free to the public, the festival of books has cooking demonstrations, poetry readings, storytelling and events for kids, and book signings by prominent authors and celebrities. This year celebrities such as Michael J. Fox, Bob Barker, Brooke Shields, Tori Spelling and Henry "Fonzie" Winkler were there to promote their books.
Legends like Gore Vidal, Ray Bradbury and poet laureate Robert Pinsky were also there for the more than 100 author panels that took place throughout the day. Even columnist Steve Lopez was there to talk about the film based on his column, "The Soloist."
A new occasion happening at the festival was the first cultural neighborhood which was sponsored by the Spanish language newspaper, "Hoy" whose aim was promoting literacy in English and Spanish among Latinos. There were performances by a Chilean musician called Sajama and a mariachi band and folk dancing Cielo Nuevo or new sky.
The over 300 exhibitor booths held a vast array of booksellers, publishers, literacy and cultural organizations.
From booths specializing in travel books, books of the body and mind, and mystery books, there were also television networks such as KTLA 5 in Los Angeles with its anchors there to sign autographs.
At the end of Saturday , a multitude of kids and their parents crowded the Target Children's Stage as the Nickelodeon Yo Gabba Gabba! Characters came on stage to sing and dance.
Among the multitude of books, there was also a variety of foods with their smells wafting through the air. Albeit very expensive, food prices going five dollars and up, people just could not resist the smell of kettle popcorn, Chinese food bowls, and California pizza. It is doubtful anyone bought the seven dollar cotton candy, but many book lovers walked around with a fruit plate and whipped cream topping which became the hit food of the festival.
Like every year, the festival of books went without a hitch as book lovers celebrated the written word.