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The third annual San Antonio Book Festival took place at the Central Library and the Southwest School of Art in downtown San Antonio this past Saturday. The festival featured live readings, panels, cooking demonstrations, live music, movie screenings and book sales. Separate areas were set up for the different age groups represented at the festival.

Close to the Central Library, a section set up for children contained a playground area and tents where story tellers amused their young audience with live readings and puppet shows. Following the readings, families could then visit the authors at the tent next door to purchase a signed copy of the book or peruse the rest of the featured works.

A row of colorful tents were conveniently set up for festival-goers to stop and look at the various titles or get their books signed by their favorite authors. A stage was also set up for talks and panels with featured writers. Popular amongst young adults was the Geektown area of the festival, where the Fiction Contest Awards were distributed to the winners of this year’s event, which ranged from grades seven to twelve.

Apart from the young writers, other aspiring authors also had the opportunity to showcase their work at “Pitchapalooza.” With the help of Gemini Ink, a non-profit volunteer reading series located in San Antonio, the contest allowed around twenty participants to pitch their book ideas for possible publication with only one winner.

The panel discussions and featured books ranged from the architecture of Hill Country Houses to journalism. Outside of the written word, other topics included the filming of “Boyhood,” Texas politics, cooking demonstrations presented by Central Market and the importance of translation in literary works. In honor of National Poetry Month, a special event was also planned in which they featured poets inside the Central Library’s Auditorium.

If at any point between talks visitors felt hungry, an array of food was settled in the Southwest School of Art’s parking lot. A few lemonade stands offered refreshing drinks while food trucks spread along the parking lot offered many choices to fuel the tired or hungry visitors with options ranging from small bites, like street tacos, to larger meals, like hamburgers and fries. For anyone with a sweet tooth, cupcakes or freshly made whoopie pies were made available for purchase.

The Book Festival offered so many diversions that even the uninvited rain did not deter visitors from walking around and continuing to enjoy the many events prepared. With or without an umbrella, guests still roamed outside among the tents and book sales or chose to seek cover inside the Central Library to catch a panel or enjoy a good read.

To finish off the night, people were invited to head over to the Charline McCombs Empire Theater and bear witness to a Literary Death Match in which four authors presented their work to the audience and a panel of judges in only seven minutes. The judges then proceeded to choose which two authors would compete in the finale where the winner would be crowned. The last event of the night ended with book signings by the four competitors.

The San Antonio Book Festival might be only in its third round, but even with the rain, it is safe to say that this year’s Book Festival was a success.

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