September 5, 2011

Decatur Book Festival 2011

Every year on Labor Day weekend while I'm usually at Dragon*Con, there's also a really cool book festival going on in Decatur, GA.  This year, since I'm a new school librarian and all, I thought I ought to check it out.  I mean, I've done it before in the past, but never committed to it for the weekend.

This year, Saturday and Sunday were vastly different experiences.  Saturday was hot and oppressive and not much fun at all.  Sunday was cloudy, breezy and delightful.  I guess those Dragon*Con dudes know what they're doing by having it inside during one of the hotter times in the South.

Don't ask me why this is the mascot, but it's pretty cool.  Now while the Decatur Book Festival isn't nearly as big as what we affectionately call Nerdy Con, it's a good size.  There are many stages with writers reading, speaking and having panels coving most genres you can think of.  There are plenty of shops and festival food wafting through the air.  Tom Perrotta was there.  So was Robert Owen Butler and many more.  I was mostly focused on the kid's authors of course and was looking forward to seeing Avi, Tony DiTerlizzi, Adam Gidwitz, Gordon Korman, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and many more.

 I did see Adam Gidwitz of Tale Dark and Grimm fame.  He clearly got into it when reading aloud and was a fun and engaging speaker. I missed pretty much everyone else I wanted to check out on Saturday because it was unbearably, unrelentingly hot.  It wasn't just sucking the sweat out of our pores, it was sucking the very fun out of the air.  We were there all of two hours but it felt like most of the day and we were all completely tuckered out.  Needless to say we didn't stick around for any signed books.

Saturday was much better.  Thanks to tropical storm Lee smacking into a cold front, the temps were much lower, there was a cloud cover and an actual breeze.  Ahh.  Harper and I got there early for the Pete the Cat parade!  We could actually mosy abound shopping at the vendors who opened early, chat with the other participants gathering for the parade and generally goof off taking silly pictures and videos, like the one at left.  

While people-watching during the lead-up to the parade, we ran into James Dean, the Pete artist, in his sparkly blue cowboy boots!  He told Harper here purple shoes were groovy and let us snap a pic.

Them we were off!  We followed the drummer and the small fire engine lights down the main drag and wound our way to the Children's Stage.  We followed James Dean, the artist and Eric Litwin, the writer/singer who was chanting the Pete the Cat song through a megaphone.  When he ran out of verses he'd get a nearby kid to say something else Pete had stepped in.  They weren't very creative kids and either came up with different colored grapes or kept making Pete jump back in the mud.  On the drive home Harper and I tried to come up with better ones.  Her favorites included having Pete the Cat step in a big pile of glitter and maybe even stumbling into some rainbow sprinkles.  Tee hee!

We got some cool t-shirts and previously signed books from authors who had been there the day before from the Little Shop of Stories.  But man, I wish we could have met Gordon Korman.

I'm thinking next year I'll stick with Dragon*Con.  Better costumes and air conditioning makes me happy.