Random House Book Fair also includes movies
Posted on http://explorecarroll.com on 3/04/09
Steven Wantz, executive director of the Carroll Community College Foundation, describes the Random House Book Fair, held on the Westminster college campus for the past 11 years, as both a fund-raising and a friend-raising event.
"Over the past 12 years, it has raised over $200,000," Wantz said of the fair, which takes place Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7.
Proceeds from the two-day fair provide scholarships and financial aid to the college's students. In recent years, the fair has drawn about 3,500 people to the campus.
"It's an opportunity for people who have never been on our campus -- or who don't get here very often — to come out and get a peek at an institution that our county commissioners have described as 'the gem of Carroll County,' " Wantz said.
"People can come out and see what's changed and what's new here," he added. "Elements of the book fair (see related article "Books are back in town" for full schedule) are spread throughout the campus, so they get to see what's going on around the college."
Wantz said that in the past five or six years, he and his colleagues at the foundation have gone to great lengths to make the fair a family-oriented event. The Saturday schedule, for example, features a children's activities area ($2), and free events including story times, science presentations and even free children's books, while supplies last.
The emphasis, he said, is "creating a passion for reading in young people."
"There are so many activities this year for young families that you'll need at least a couple of hours to experience the whole thing," he added.
"We're hoping that at this point of the winter, people are fed up with being stuck at home and will come spend the day with us," Wantz said.
In recent years, one of the fair's most successful draws is the Friday night movie at the college's Scott Theater. This year, the Walt Disney movie "Bolt," will be featured — twice.
"We actually sold out and had to turn people away from the movie for the past two years," Wantz recalled. "So this year, we're having two showings, one at 4 p.m. and another at 7 p.m.
"Also, 'Bolt' isn't out yet on DVD, so you can come out to the college and still see it on the big screen," he added.
Wantz said it's yet another barometer of the book fair's appeal that many authors and vendors return year after year.
One of these is John Hoffert, a Hanover, Pa., resident who has written several thrillers, including "The Zero Factor," "Aphrodite's Redemption" and "The Time of Reckoning" — part of what he calls "The Lion" Series.
Hoffert has rented a table and been selling and signing copies of his books at the fair every year for the past five, and he'll be back again this year.
"It's a really good venue, and ... they don't charge vendors an exorbitant up-front fee," said Hoffert, who hopes to finish the latest novel in the Lion Series, "Pyrrhic Victory: The Lion's Wrath," later this year. (For an excerpt, visit www.JohnHoffert.com.)
"As book fairs go, it's just the right size," he added. "I was at a really big book fair in Philadelphia not too long ago, and there were hoards of people, but most of them had come to see the big-name writers. Independents like me really did get lost in the shuffle.
"It's definitely much friendlier — and much more manageable," he said.
20090304 Random House Book Fair article by Bob Allen
Kevin Dayhoff www.kevindayhoff.net http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/
Kevin Dayhoff: www.westgov.net Westminster Maryland Online www.westminstermarylandonline.net http://kevindayhoffwestgov-net.blogspot.com/