This is annual festival held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and the first literary event my family and I have ever been able to attend. Before this we didn't live in an area where anyone came to visit without a long drive. We're from upstate (anything outside NYC even though it was actually on the PA border) New York, and while lots of writers go to New York, they go to NYC and a six hour drive just isn't reasonable. Not to mention I'm from a small town, a city that size scares the heck out of me. I live in a city now, but it's just not as large or frightening or well known for crimes as NYC is. It's the sort of city that still manages to have a townish sort of feel to it while offering a whole lot more for kids and families to do. Even when we moved here though we had no idea how to go about finding bookish events. It had never been an option before, so we didn't know where to start. We actually learned about this because I follow James Patterson on Facebook and he posted that he was doing the opening event which occurred two days prior to the actual festival.
Unfortunately we didn't see the post for the ticketed event until 30 minutes prior to that event and it takes longer than that for us to drive there. So we didn't get to see James Patterson, but he did provide the link to the festival where we found a lot of other writers we really wanted to meet. And the chance to get our books autographed which for my daughter and I was super exciting. My daughter is the only avid reader among my children. The boys are getting into reading because of the people they met at the festival but it's a slow process to turn a gamer into a reader if they aren't already one. Trust me it took years to make my husband into a reader, but I have succeeded.
We were already planning to see The Giver that weekend because it was the weekend we were celebrating my daughter's 14th birthday. My husband only has one weekend off a month so we celebrate on whatever weekend that is even if the event isn't for another couple weeks. So my daughter and I saw this and I'm like we can't do both, one there isn't enough time and two we're going to spend way too much money at the festival to have extra for a movie, you have to choose. So we didn't see The Giver, because my daughter is awesome and chose to do this. Her father took her to see the movie a couple weeks later as his birthday event with her. Our family doesn't do parties because they're a hassle that cost too much and just end up being more stress than fun. Instead we go and do things. Her Dad has kind of adopted that tradition with her as well so in September she usually gets to go and do two fun things for her birthday plus the whole cake and presents thing with family and maybe a couple of family friends tops. They may not make out as great on the gifts as friends who have large parties, but before we switched to doing this instead of parties we asked them and they liked the idea of going and doing things more than having big parties. It works for us.
There was so much going on, but we only made it to three panels even though we were there all day because we also spent time in line for signings or just walking around. The festival offered a lot more than we actually attended. Some of my best photos are missing from this post because I'm not really comfortable with posting forward facing photos of my teen and preteen children. Maybe I'm paranoid, but that's one of my quirks. I did tweet a couple because my kids asked me to, but since sending those tweets I've been frightened out of my mind that some creeper is going to steal my kids away so I'm not sharing those photos here. Below is a combination of photos I took and photos I've saved that other attendees have publicly posted online. About half way through the day the batteries in my camera died and my phone just doesn't compare in quality so I have more of the morning than I do of the afternoon.