The Examiner

Anticipation Mounts for Saturday’s Chappaqua Children’s Book Fest

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At least several thousand people are expected to flock to downtown Chappaqua on Saturday for the sixth annual Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. Nearly 100 authors and illustrators will be on hand.

If you’re a child and love to read or a parent who hopes to get your son or daughter to read more, than Chappaqua is the place to be this Saturday.

Thousands of children and parents will converge in the hamlet’s downtown for the sixth annual Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival on the grounds of Robert E. Bell Middle School on South Greeley Avenue. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As one of the top children’s book festivals anywhere, the gathering of authors and illustrators – 98 in all this year – is the largest in the event’s history. More than 20 of them are new to the festival. Executive Director Dawn Greenberg said there is also a waiting list of 30 additional names.

There are several reasons for the festival’s popularity, including a focus on advertising and marketing in Connecticut and New York City, but the enthusiasm among visitors is one of the most important factors, Greenberg said.

“We have a real reputation of getting our authors’ books, getting the copies of their books, taking care of them,” she said. “But what they say really matters to them, that the readers here and the parents are so engaged, they ask questions. Oftentimes they know about older titles they’ve had in print and I always get such good feedback from the authors about how much they love the families they encounter.”

Diversity in book genre and suitability for multiple age groups is critical for the event’s success, Greenberg said. There will be board books for babies right up through having 10 young adult authors for readers in eighth grade through high school.

The day is not only about books but having a fun time as kids search for their favorite authors or titles. In addition to author readings, book signings and illustrator demonstrations, there will be a food court with a variety of food trucks from around the region, kids’ activities, reading-related crafts and music from The Mike Risko Band from Ossining.

For those with a sweet tooth, the Great Chappaqua Bake Sale returns for the sixth consecutive years selling baked treats and raffle tickets. The bake sale’s proceeds benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry mission to end childhood hunger.

Accessibility is another reason for the festival’s success, Greenberg said. The venue is a short walk from the Chappaqua train station, which brings in many of the visitors from lower Westchester and the city, she said.

With any luck from the weather – and the forecast is promising with sunny skies and highs in the low 70s – last year’s crowd of 4,000 estimated by organizers could be easily eclipsed.

For those who will arrive by car, there is free all-day parking in the commuter train lot. Town Supervisor Robert Greenstein said there will be sufficient parking there as well as some street parking, although time limits are in effect for the latter.

A concern is the ongoing infrastructure work in downtown Chappaqua, Greenstein said, but the town has instructed the contractor and construction manager to button up the project for the weekend to accommodate Saturday’s expected crowds.

Greenstein said for next year the downtown construction will be complete. Despite some inconveniences now, the festival has been a boon for the community.

“It is a good time to showcase our town and next year it will be even better to showcase our town,” he said.

To help with the festival’s mission of promoting literacy, a portion of the book sales will benefit JCY-WCP literacy programs in schools throughout Westchester and to underwrite a new program in an Ossining elementary school. It also supports Summer Reading Buddies in the Yonkers and Ossining public libraries.

The event is rain or shine. In case of rain, the festival will be moved inside the middle school. Its address is 50 Senter St.

For more information about the event, including the full list of authors and illustrators, visit or the festival’s Facebook page.

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