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Festival of Books brings family to UA dinning

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Ian Green | The Daily Wildcat Jessica Muiseke-Wilkison serves up a “Neopolitan,” one of many specialty tea concoctions at Scented Leaf. The popular tea house sees an increase in the family crowd during Festival of Books.

The Tucson Festival of Books attracts many to the University of Arizona campus, where it takes place, who otherwise wouldn’t be visiting. A love of the written word has brought visitors to campus in mass since its inception in 2009. 

The people that can be seen roaming the UA during the book festival are not the usual student faces present during the semester. They’re older people and families that want to check out the festivities. 

Neysha Aguilar, the communications and marketing manager for the Arizona Student Unions, said that during the Tucson Festival of Books there is an increase in people who stop by the unions, but it is not something that is focused on. 

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“There is definitely an increase … but it’s not something that we’re capitalizing on in regards to increasing sales, just because we see it as us hosting and we want to make sure that everyone is happy,” Aguilar said.

One trend for the festival is more and more people from outside the Tucson community attend as the years go on, which causes the student unions to anticipate the high amount of traffic the event will bring. They are able to plan ahead by staffing up the unions to adjust.

“I’m really 100 percent sure every single year we see a big increase because it’s one of the biggest festival of books in the nation, so we see an increase, especially of visitors that are from completely outside of Tucson and outside of Arizona, since we got the community that are already here,” Aguilar said. “We see a lot of those people that travel to Tucson, snowbirds as well, lots of families, lots of little kids.”

Even though the Tucson Festival of Books takes place on the UA Mall, that doesn’t stop visitors from venturing to and checking out Main Gate Square. 

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Lauren Raziele, a manager at Scented Leaf tea house, found that business doesn’t necessarily increase since it’s always steadily busy, but there’s different people coming in.

“We don’t really see much of a difference. Of course, we get a lot more families coming in,” she said. “We get a few more families than we would, but we’re always filled up with students regardless.”

Miranda Rico, a barista of four years at Espresso Art Cafe, has seen a rise of families and older couples during the weekend over “the college crowd.” They tend to gravitate more toward coffee and pastries, rather than alcoholic drinks or hookah, which the cafe is popular for.

“Anytime there’s a local event in Tucson, like the Street Fair of the Festival of Books or anything like that, that may not necessarily be university associated, we definitely see an influx of the older family crowd,” Rico said. “It definitely helps even out because we do very much cater toward the college side of things, but when we see these events, it definitely brings in a different crowd, and it’s really refreshing to see that change during those times.”



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