In honor of the 10th anniversary of the Tucson Festival of Books, we’ve created a playbook of 10 things to do at the festival this weekend on the University of Arizona campus. Find information about these and the hundreds and hundreds of other free author presentations and free activities at tucsonfestivalofbooks.org.
1. Sing the national anthem
Sing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” at 9:15 a.m. at the USS Arizona Memorial Plaza, dedicated in 2016 for the 75th anniversary of the attack of Pearl Harbor.
2. Watch the parade
The Storybook Parade kicks off the festival at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Take your picture with life-size storybook characters, then march with singers and youth mariachis from the Canyon, between the UA Bookstore and the Student Union, to the Children’s Area.
3. Discover a new author
With more than 350 authors and panelists, the festival promises to delight and surprise you. In addition, you’ll find dozens of local authors in the Indie Author Pavilion. All of the presentations are free.
4. Meet an author at an exhibitor tent
Best-selling authors — think A.J. Finn, Philip Caputo, T. Jefferson Parker and Luis Alberto Urrea — often sign books in the exhibitor tents. If you miss an author at a presentation, check out where else they might be scheduled.
5. Get a read on science, up close
Explore the UA’s science-rich campus and see firsthand what’s happening across the university with open houses and scheduled tours. Some tours require free tickets, which are available at the Science City Visitor Center. Science City, itself, is the largest STEM event in Arizona.
6. Volcano explosions
Watch a volcano explode. In the Volcano Area, of course, in Science City at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., both days.
7. Find 5,374 names of friends
This year for the first time, the festival put the names of every volunteer on record — that’s 5,374 over 10 years — into a database to create a panoramic photo of the festival. Search for your name or your friends’ in volunteer headquarters near the Student Union or online at tucne.ws/panorama.
8. Hone your skills
Have a novel or screenplay you want to write, a memoir for your family, or just want to improve your writing? Workshops on writing fiction, poetry, science fiction, creative nonfiction, and sessions on finding an agent and getting published await you both days.
Teachers can earn professional development credits at some of children’s workshops and author sessions.
9. Sit and relax
Watch musicians, Irish dancers, Scottish dancers, Swedish dancers, ballet folklorico, minstrels, puppet shows, magic shows, a human circus, a BMX X Games champion, poetry reading, storytelling, all for free, on outdoor stages.
10. Put on your dancing shoes
The Rock Bottom Remainders, made up of best-selling authors, return to the festival for a free concert Saturday at Jefferson Field near the east end of the Mall. Happy hour starts at 5, with the concert at 5:30 p.m.
Band members include Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, Ridley Pearson, Alan Zweibel, Greg Iles, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, Mary Karr, Sam Barry, Josh Kelly and Erasmo Paolo .
Their “Proof Reading Woman,” is a hoot:
“I’m in love / With a proofreading woman / I’m gonna love her until the day I die / She’s got a big dictionary, real good grammar / She never says, ‘Between you and I.’ ”