EDITORIAL: Festival of Books offers experience like no other

Jen Pimentel | The Daily Wildcat Festival-goers walk around to different booths at the Tucson Festival of Books on the UA mall on March 12, 2016. The festival attracts authors and patrons from all 50 states, as well as many international locations.

With literally millions of books available with the push of a button on your phone or tablet, what’s the point of attending an event like the Tucson Festival of Books?

Ask any of the 100,000 plus who attend every year, and I’m sure you will hear many of the same reasons you will read below. Truth is, the festival has something for everyone, and that something can’t be replicated through a screen or in a typical store.

First and foremost are the author panels, Q&As and book signings. Being able to meet a favorite author is a memorable experience for any literature fan, and at the festival, there will be hundreds of writers who will be more than happy to share their thoughts or answer your burning questions about why the protagonist betrayed his allies in the third book of your favorite series.

Many of the author readings are intimate gatherings, with anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred spectators gathered under a tent to listen to a best-selling novelist discuss the industry with small children, students and adults of all ages.

And although some of the authors have sold millions of books, many others at the festival are just getting started and would love to have the support of new fans, whether that means spending a few bucks on their latest work or even just a few encouraging words and a follow on social media.

          RELATED: UA authors Sanchez, Devlin featured at the Tucson Festival of Books

Beyond the chance to interact with world-class writers, the festival offers science buffs a chance to experience some of the University of Arizona’s research and technology up close and personal.

From fungi and insect exhibits to the expanses of history and the universe, at the Museum of Natural History and Flandrau Planetarium, the entire scope of time and space is available for exploration at the festival.

And if museums and planetariums aren’t quite your thing, BMX riders will also be demonstrating that physics is much more than colliding particles in a lab, while a volcano eruption will blow some minds, along with the simulated magma.

This chance to get hands-on experience with real science is a great opportunity for learners of all ages, and an amazing way to show those who think science is boring how wrong they really are.

Also for those on the path to learning is the expansive kids’ section at the festival. Character meetings, story readings, music performances and many other activities are the perfect way to get little ones into the reading spirit for years to come.

          RELATED: R.L. Stine coming to Tucson Festival of Books to talk 'Goosebumps,' latest series

Throughout the festival, performance acts like the Manhattan Dolls, Tucson Improv Movement and the Saguaro Strutters will be singing, acting and dancing across stages at various points on the UA Mall, proving once again the festival is much more than just books.

On Saturday night, the Rock Bottom Remainders will also perform a free concert for festivalgoers who want to relax and catch some tunes while thumbing through their new tomes.

Of course, no festival would be complete without a complete array of food options. Numerous vendors with all manner of tasty treats will ensure that festival attendees are fueled and ready for a long day of author talks and performances.

The Tucson Festival of Books is about so much more than purchasing the latest work from a beloved writer or adding a needed classic to a collection. It’s an experience that can’t be replicated online, in a big box store or, frankly, anywhere else in the world.

There’s a reason why this festival has grown stronger every year for the past decade and is one of the biggest there is. Actually, there are many reasons, a few of them listed here, but many more that await when you check it out and see for yourself.

Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat Opinions Board and are written by its members. They are Editor-in-chief Courtney Talak, Opinions Editor Andrew Paxton, Content Editor Marissa Heffernan, Engagement Editor Saul Bookman and Arts & Life Editor Pascal Albright. Follow The Daily Wildcat on Twitter.

Share this article