Free, Free, Free!

The Ohioana Book Festival is today.  It’s forecast to be a rainy, stormy day in Columbus, and already the rain is pelting down and beating against the windowpane.  That means it’s perfect for a trip to the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center downtown for the eighth edition of the the Festival.  Doors open at 9:45 a.m., and events begin at 10 a.m.

The Festival is free to the public.  That’s right — free!  It’s like a public library in that way, something good that’s open and available to everyone regardless of their personal circumstances.  In an era where fees and charges seem to be added for just about everything, how many great things are free?  The Ohioana Book Festival is one of them.  Last year more than 3,000 people came, and many of them were families who enjoyed a fun event that didn’t hurt their budget.

Here’s your chance to get some enlightenment and insight without making a dent in your wallet.  The list of events offers something of interest to everyone, whether you are an aspiring author, a mystery buff, a sci-fi geek, or someone who loves to cook good food.  The panel discussions are always interesting, and in between you’ll have a chance to browse through a huge array of books, meet authors and hear what they have to say, and nosh on the offerings of some of Columbus’ best food trucks.  Stop by, Columbus!

Ohioana Book Festival

I promised to post something about the 2013 Ohioana Book Festival last Saturday, and I’ve been remiss.

IMG_3700The Festival keeps getting bigger and better.  Having stood behind a table at the front entrance to the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center for four hours, giving away Ohioana quarterlies and pencils to visitors and hawking $5 Ohioana coffee mugs and tote bags — and thanks to every book lover who was gracious enough to accept my spiel and pony up a fiver, by the way — I can say with confidence that there were a lot of people there.   Positioned as I was directly across from the book-buying check-out line, I can also say that many books were being sold.

There were families and reading friends, would-be authors and genre fans.  At times, during the interim periods after one set of panel discussions ended and before the next began, the authors’ table area was jammed.  The picture above, taken from my table near the entrance, gives you some idea of the crowd.

Everyone I spoke to was enjoying the Festival and was glad they came.  Next year, maybe you can join us?

Free, And Open To The Public

A reminder to all of you book lovers and readers out there:  the Ohioana Book Festival is today, at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center, downtown.

The Ohioana Book Festival is free, easy to reach, and open to the public.  Parking is free, too.

It is one of the great, yet perhaps underappreciated, things about living in America — our country and our communities are chock full of civic organizations that put on street fairs, speeches, church festivals, neighborhood bazaars, and other activities that don’t cost a cent and are open to whoever would like to come.  The events tend to be put on by charitable groups and hard-working volunteers who support what the groups are doing.  They are the kind of quirky, non-cookie cutter activities that can give a weekend more flavor, introduce us to new friends, and draw communities closer together.

We’re lucky to have interesting events that are free and open to the public.  And speaking of which — the doors to the Book Festival open at 9:45, with panel discussions, a book fair, author signings, and other activities continuing throughout the day.


The Books, Authors, And Food Trucks Roundelay

If you’re in Columbus on Saturday and looking for something fun to do, why not stop by the Ohioana Book Festival?

The Festival runs from 10 to 4:30 at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in downtown Columbus.  There will be interesting panel discussions, presentations by authors, and a day-long book fair and book sales.  A PDF of the program for the Festival is here.

Oh, yes . . . there will be food trucks, too:  Ajumama, which serves up some very sweet Korean street food; the Green Meanie, which dishes out an ever-changing menu of eclectic choices; Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, with its irresistible and stunningly creative options; Mikeys Late Night Slice, for the devoted pizza aficionados among us (and who isn’t, by the way); and the Short North Bagel Deli, for those craving bagels and deli sandwiches.

The awesome collection of food trucks strongly suggests a rhythm and roundelay to the day.  Grab a bagel, catch a panel discussion provocatively entitled Crime, True Crime, and the Unexplained, browse for books.  Savor some Korean chow, talk to some authors, check out a panel discussion on eating out in Cleveland.  And speaking of eating . . . Repeat, and repeat.  There are great choices on both the panel discussion and food truck fronts.

I’ll be there when the Festival doors open, volunteering for the Ohioana Library Association.  Stop by and say hello!

Let The Festival Begin!

C’mon, readers — it’s time to head out for the Ohioana Book Festival!

The doors open at 9:45, and the programs begin at 10 a.m. at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in downtown Columbus.  There will be interesting readings, enlightening discussions, and lots of friendly book-lovers browsing through reading options, hobnobbing with authors, and eagerly discussing their latest page-turning favorites.  There will be good food at some of Columbus coolest new food trucks and children’s activities and the pretty surroundings of the Fort Hayes campus.

If you are an avid reader, or a budding author, or a member of a book club, the Ohioana Book Festival is the place for you.

Into The Festive Mood

It’s time to get festive about books.  The Ohioana Book Festival is tomorrow, at the beautiful and historic Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in Columbus.

It’s supposed to be a lovely day, weather-wise, with temperatures in the 70s — perfect conditions for walking the Fort Hayes campus as you go from program to program.  You might want to start, say, with a morning program about fiction by women or juvenile literature, then dip your toe into the mystery writing area.  Over the lunch hour you can visit one of the great food trucks and food carts that will be there — Ajumama?  Green Meanie?  Jeni’s Ice Creams?  Sweet! — and then listen to music in the courtyard.  In the afternoon, aspiring writers can hear from experienced pros about how to get published.  And throughout the day you can visit the central areas where authors are giving readings, where books are sold, and where writers will gladly talk to you about their works.

The doors open at 10 a.m., and I’ll be there, holding down the Ohioana welcome table.  Stop by and say hello!

The Ohioana Book Festival, Coming Soon

Those who like books — and who could be more erudite than the hardy handful of readers of the Webner House blog? — have a treat in store.  The 2011 Ohioana Book Festival is coming to the Fort Hayes campus in Columbus on Saturday, May 7, 2011.  It’s going to be another great program — and it’s free.  What could be better?

If you’ve never been to an Ohioana Book Festival, don’t admit it to me because I’ll just lose respect for you.  Anyway, if you fall into that unfortunate category you’ve really missed some interesting stuff.  At the Book Festival, you get to meet Ohio authors, listen to them give readings or address topics of interest, and ask them questions.  I’ve enjoyed the individual presentations by certain authors, where they talk about what inspired them or how they came up with their ideas.  I’ve been fascinated when writers who pursue different disciplines get together and bring their different perspectives to bear on a particular topic.  And I’ve relished meeting the many enthusiastic bibliophiles who call Ohio home and who proudly claim reading as their passion.

One of the best things about the Ohioana Book Festival is the variety.  This year, in the roster of featured authors alone, we’ve got mystery writers, a poet, a comic book artist, a crime fiction writer, a writer and an illustrator of children’s literature, and the author of a book called Cakes To Die For.   What more do you need to know?