It was a bookish good time at the inaugural Oklahoma Book Festival on October 20, 2018 at the Boathouse District!
The Oklahoma Book Festival came together for the first time on a beautiful, and somewhat wet Fall day, with about 75 volunteers and 2,500 attendees. The Festival delivered a variety of presentations and panel discussions all day on eight stages with the gorgeous Boathouse District as the backdrop. Authors, poets, and illustrators delighted festival goers with recounts of stories behind their works, with live-readings, and answers to the audience’s long-awaited questions.
Attendees enjoyed meeting authors in-person and getting treasured books signed by their literary favorites. Entertainers, from musicians to magicians, amused kids and adults in the pavilion and around the festival grounds. Kids were delighted by the stories shared in the Storytime Tent featuring their favorite books, authors and even surprise characters. The Craft Tent brought together imagination and engineering cultivating kids of all ages to take pride in their own handiwork. Guests relished in a variety of delectable food and flavorful coffees in the the food truck area. Families were able to take a break to enjoy the blue skies and festival atmosphere in the picnic area. The Vendor Village attracted visitors to browse the displays of local publishers, authors, artists, illustrators, and merchants. Best of Books set up the Main Booksellers Tent showcasing an abundance of books and book-related items.
So what did the festival goers take away from the day? Many shared their appreciation and observations through the festival survey and on social media with comments like:
“My kids had a blast. My daughter even said it was her favorite thing today (and she even went to a roller skating birthday party after).” -Heather
“The passion, sass, vision, courage, warmth, humor and strength I saw and heard today filled my soul to overflowing.” – Kaci
“What a raging, howling, happy success! Let’s do it again next year!” -Dorothy
“My family and I had an amazing time! Thank you so much for your hospitality. I look forward to the next one!” -Brad
“It was wonderful. I was so impressed with the venue, volunteers, and the authors! Looking forward to next year! Job well done!” -Tassey
“It was so much fun! Just a suggestion for next year – please sell the OK Book Fest shirts! I would love one!” -Lisa
Thank you to all who participated in the first Oklahoma Book Festival! And those who filled out our survey and shared comments, we appreciate your feedback. As we plan for the 2019 Oklahoma Book Festival, we are reviewing and taking all your observations into consideration. And… Yes, Lisa, we will be selling the OK Book Fest shirts next year! ; )
Festival by the Numbers
2,500 to 3,000: Number of attendees based on event planner estimate and overflowing parking lot
58 authors and illustrators made presentations or participated in panel discussions
925 books were sold
1,000+: Number of children and caregivers who participated in the Children’s Craft Tent
946: Total attendance at sessions in the three Big Tents (Ida Sutton Williams Headliner Tent, Angie Debo Venue, and the Ralph Ellison Tent)
225: Attendance at sessions in the Children/YA Tent
176: Number of children and caregivers who enjoyed tales in the Storytime Tent.
120+: Attendance at illustrator Jerry Bennett’s session in the CHK Boathouse Venue.
14 sponsors and 3 media sponsors
123: The number of downloadable photos on our Flikr page for the Oklahoma Book Festival
18: Number of authors whose works appeared on the Oklahoma Best Sellers lists in the weeks following the festival.
2018 Festival Snapshots
Mark your calendars for the 2019 Oklahoma Book Festival. It will be held on Saturday, September 21 at OKC’s boathouse district!