Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gaithersburg Writes the Book on Book Festivals

The City of Gaithersburg has schooled the country on how to put on a book festival. Its first annual festival held on Saturday was a smashing success.

The focus of the event was its showcasing of 56 authors, each having an hour for presentation and questions from 10-4 in eight different tents.

But there was much more. There was a book sale tent, a used book area, events for kids, food and sponsor tents.

Crab cakes and lemonade for nine bucks!

There were too many people over too large an area for a head count. We would not be surprised if attendance reached four digits.

Many VIPs came. In addition to the Gaithersburg City Council, your author saw Council Members Phil Andrews and Marc Elrich, House Majority Leader Kumar Barve, Delegates Lou Simmons and Jim Gilchrist, Senate candidate Cheryl Kagan and County Council candidate Hans Riemer. There may very well have been others.

Hans Riemer (left) with Marc Elrich.

Your author was one of the presenters, and the only one who did not have to do a book signing. (How does one sign the Internet?) For once, the politicians gathered to grill the rogue blogger who has long tormented them. What fun it must have been for them!

Cheryl Kagan meets a very tired Andres Pagnucco. Let Cheryl teach you how to smile, little man!

The best reviews came from the authors themselves, many of whom have worked in other book events. Here are a few of their comments.

Erica S. Perl: “Here here! Very impressive in terms of organization, totally fun, and gorgeous weather too! Thanks so much for having me and congrats on what I'm sure will be a longrunning tradition!”

Sarah Blake: “I second that! It was a lovely lovely day--full to the brim of books and talk! Thank you Gaithersburg!”

Miranda Lobs: “I agree with everything already said. Thanks for all your hospitality. Everyone was so nice! What a successful event and you would never know this was your first book festival. Great job you guys!”

John Feinstein: “I wanted to throw some kudos today in the direction of the people who ran The Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday. I am always leery of book festivals and book fairs, in part because there is no guarantee anyone will show up, in part because they often are very poorly organized. This one—first time out of the box—was run with precision timing; lots of volunteers who knew what they were doing and good crowds—helped no doubt by a perfect weather day. The audience I spoke to had plenty of people and enthusiasm, which was terrific.”

Alan Orloff: “The weather was great, the event was extremely organized and well-attended, and the roster of participating authors was awesome.”