Families from throughout the tristate area will descend on the hamlet’s downtown this Saturday to meet their favorite authors and illustrators at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. The event will take place outside Robert E. Bell Middle School from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The fifth annual festival proves that books and reading can be fun and enjoyable for children.
“We always want to bring in the favorites that everybody loves like “Pinkalicious” and “Biscuit” and “Bad Kitty,” but every year we want to bring in 15 or so new authors to shake things up a little bit and to stay really current,” said Dawn Greenberg, one of the event’s organizers. “I’m proud we were able to do that.”
This year, Westchester’s largest children’s book festival will be the largest in its history. Greenberg said there will be 88 authors and illustrators on hand, who will not only be selling their works, but most importantly meeting their biggest fans. There will be books appropriate for all ages, from baby board books to the young adult reader and everything in between.
Highly anticipated authors and illustrators expected this weekend include the husband-and-wife team of Lesa Cline-Ransome and James Ransome, who have come out with their latest book, “Before She Was Harriet,” and author Doreen Cronin and author and illustrator Betsy Lewin, who have collaborated on the “Click, Clack, Moo series.”
In five years, the festival has become such an in-demand event, that there is now a large waiting list of authors that couldn’t be accommodated, Greenberg said.
While the festival takes place locally, its reach has gone far beyond a Westchester event. Greenberg said posters advertising the festival have been placed in nearly every Metro-North station. Plus, among educators, word has spread like wildfire into Connecticut and New York City, that the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival is an event that shouldn’t be missed, she said.
About 6,000 to 7,000 people are expected to attend on Saturday.
“It’s probably grown a little faster than expected,” Greenberg said. “I’m a little flummoxed by it all, but eventually, the town can’t keep on accommodating more and more people and we’ll find our settle-down point.”
While the focus is on books, the festival is more than a big book sale with authors on hand. It’s also a fun time for families who can spend several hours. Club Fit will bring an obstacle course that will be placed on the adjacent field and children can try their hand at various art projects brought by the Katonah Art Center.
There will be musical performers and if anyone gets hungry there will be several different types of food trucks. Those with a sweet tooth can buy goodies from the Great Chappaqua Bake Sale. All proceeds from the bake sale will be contributed to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.
“My emphasis has always been to make this a festival, to make it fun, to come and stay all day,” Greenberg said. “You have the books but also to have meaningful activities that you can get into all afternoon.”
There is also a benefit to the town in general, as it brings people from outside Chappaqua and New Castle to show everything the town has to offer, said Supervisor Robert Greenstein.
“It’s been great since day one,” he said. “Dawn should be very proud of what she’s accomplished.”
The event will be held rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, the festival will be moved inside the school. Otherwise, it will be in the parking lot in front of the school facing South Greeley Avenue.
For more information, visit www.ccbfestival.org.