I am a mega-fan of the National Bookfest. I have been 7 times out of the decade that I have been here. Well technically 8, but we drove down one time and it was raining like crazy and I could not find parking and my 3 year old was asleep. So, we kind of didn’t get out.
This year, some of the notable people were Giada de Laurentiis and Khaled Hosseini. I got to see Hosseini speak, but I missed Giada while standing in line to get my daughter’s book signed by Jon Scieszka. He is a funny, funny guy by the way. He wrote: Spaceheadz, the True Story of the 3 Little Pigs and the most famous of them all, the Stinky Cheese Man.
I feel like I missed out on a lot this year because I did not plan well. We got there after church and just started walking around aimlessly. Literally. One really does need to plan before coming to this event. Plan on who you want to hear speak and who you want to have sign. One big flaw in this event is that authors speak and sign back to back. It is great for the author because they can get the heck out of dodge in a short time period. But unless you have people to stand in the line early while the person is still speaking, you are screwed. Seriously. People stand in line an hour or more before the author is due to sign. If the author is really famous, if you did not get there an hour and a half before, you may be out of luck.
Two years ago, I got Toni Morrison to sign a book. I am not a huge fan, but she is talented and she is a big wig in the book world. I love signed books by famous authors so I listened to her speak with my friend and we left a bit early and ran to the line. It was a mile long-it seemed. They loop the lines like a snake, so it can really be much longer than a normal line. Lucky for us, she signed over her hour limit-more like an hour and a half. She signed 3 people behind us and then cut the line. We just made it! There were around 200 people that stood in line for nothing. Thems the breaks!:)
So, having a strategically placed adult or 3 would help you a lot. Making the decision on who is going to listen while the other one waits is important. If the person who waits wants to have their turn to listen to someone, you just switch places. Easy peasy rice and cheesy.
If you have not been and lived here awhile, I do not get it. I really do not. Unless you are not a fan of books. That I definitely do not get.
Oh, by the way, you do not have to own books by these authors before hand. There have been times when I have read books by people and I never owned them. (library, borrowed from a friend) So, Barnes and Noble has a handy tent set up and you can get the books there. Some authors are cool enough to leave a stack of signed books so that you do not have to stand in line! That is awesome. And, B&N takes membership cards if you are a member and want to get your 10 percent off. They do not however take gift cards. I tried.:)
The last tidbit. It is 2 whole days now. The first 5 years I went, I complained that it was only one day. Then it got extended. But it seems from looking at the schedule so far, that you only have one shot for the author you love. They will not be there both days. I thought that Saturday had the best authors until I saw Hosseini was there. I am not sure which day is “better”. All I can say is the festival is wonderful. Going is worth it. I am hoping next year I can be my usual organized self and I hope to go both days.
This year the festival was the 21st and 22nd of September. It usually always occurs around the first day of fall or at least the week of. Hope to see you there!