Tucson Festival of Books draws more than 120k over weekend

2014-03-17T00:00:00Z 2014-03-17T17:03:22Z Tucson Festival of Books draws more than 120k over weekendBy Veronica M. Cruz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 17, 2014 12:00 am  • 

The sixth annual Tucson Festival of Books came to a close Sunday, but work for next year’s event is well underway.

Organizers have already had several conversations about things that could be improved and new ideas for next year, said Marcy Euler, Tucson Festival of Books executive director.

“I think that it’s such a dynamic system and everybody who participates is really passionate about it. So always thinking about what we can do differently and better is part of the excitement,” she said.

Crowds Sunday were estimated between 55,000 and 60,000.

For adults, the event provided the opportunity to hear from and chat with their favorite authors, like Dr. Andrew Weil, whose two presentations were a big draw Sunday.

And for kids, it was a chance to snap a photo or sneak a hug from their favorite characters.

“Curious George! Curious George!” shouted children as they tried to catch up with the mischievous monkey.

One of the more popular tents was just south of the children’s area. It was an appropriate place for volunteer Susan Vermilyea, who is retired from a publishing company.

She said the free-book tent gave away more than 6,000 books.

“It gives nothing but good feelings,” she said.“You can see how excited they are.”

The annual event, which costs around $500,000 to put on, provides a boost to local literacy programs.

In the last five years, the festival has contributed $900,000 total to its three beneficiaries: Literacy Connects, Reading Seed and the University of Arizona literacy programs.

Though it will be a while before official attendance numbers are released, well over 120,000 book lovers are estimated to have attended the event over its two days, Euler said.

So many people were trying to access the festival’s website and mobile apps Saturday that they crashed the system.

“It’s a problem, but it’s great to know that there’s that much interest,” Euler said.

The Star’s Kristen Cook contributed to this article.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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