Thursday, July 19, 2012

About my visit to BookFest PA ...

Per the advice of Penn State Press Publicity Manager Danny Bellet (thanks Danny!), I took some time last Saturday, July 14, during my yearly trek to the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in my native State College, to visit BookFestPA. I left the crowded, heated downtown streets filled with thousands of Arts Fest visitors to duck into a cool church pew at State College Presbyterian Church and listen, along with several dozen attendees, to presentations by two best-selling authors with ties to Happy Valley.

Old postcard of State College Presbyterian
While BookFestPA is anchored at downtown State College's Schlow Centre Region Library, the speakers were scheduled at the lovely stone church about a block away.

State College Presbyterian Church was, incidentally, the site of a youth group I attended - and loved - during high school, called Fellowship In Senior High (FISH). Though they happened years and years ago, I still vividly recall the Wednesday night spaghetti dinners and meetings my FISH friends and I shared in the hall below the church. And of course the annual camping trip to Assateague Island. But I digress ...

My next few posts will describe BookFestPA speakers Sara Shepard, author of the "Pretty Little Liars" YA series, and Tawni O'Dell, author of (Oprah's Book Club pick) "Backroads" and "Coal Run," among other novels.

Schlow Centre Region Library
I also visited the 3rd Annual BookFestPA tent behind Schlow after O'Dell's presentation, and was floored to see some local State College authors set up, promoting and selling their own works. These included, to my surprise and delight, my 10th grade Advanced World History teacher Doc Wilkerson, talented musician and family friend Mark Ross, and Boalsburg historian Janice McElhoe. I will also be talking about their new books.

That's a lot to digest so I'm breaking this up into several posts ... please read on!


Chris Redding said...

I hope to make it to sign at Bookfest next year. Not local, but a PSU Alum for sure.

Michelle Karas said...

If you're in town for Arts Fest, Chris, I highly recommend it. I was thrilled to hear what Sara Shepard and Tawni O'Dell had to say and to see the local authors later in the book tent.

It was a very well-organized and interesting event. Shepard and O'Dell also took an hour or so to sign books after, as I'm sure next year's featured authors will.