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Something really big is coming to Arizona in early March, and it offers something for just about everyone!

On March 10 and 11, much of the University of Arizona campus will be filled by the Tucson Festival of Books, “where words and imagination come to life!”

This time around, festival committee members and a small army of volunteers are making this year’s TFOB extra special to celebrate its 10th year!

This is Arizona’s largest book festival and also includes Science City, which occupies the west section of the UofA Mall starting at Cherry Avenue. While Science City offers a MIND-BOGGLING array of hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities for young and old, the literary side of the festival offers even more!

The idea started maybe a dozen or so years ago, while two of the TFOB founders, Bill and Brenda Viner, were on vacation in Southern California. With their good college friends, they attended the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books a few years in a row.

“We thought that Tucson was ready for this kind of community event,” recalls Brenda Viner, steering committee chairperson for this year’s festival. “We quickly got together the other founders (John Humenik, Frank Farias and Bruce Beach).” Each year, a different desert animal is illustrated with letters as that year’s mascot. A gila monster was the first critter made from letters, and that first festival attracted about 50,000 visitors! 

Now, TFOB attracts about 135,000 people of all ages. Hundreds of well-known authors and illustrators come to share their INSIGHT with guests.

The festival is a free event, but you’ll have to pay for your food, and there are lots of great books for sale.

To make this year really rock, the committee has been planning for the last 18 months. Viner’s favorite part is the excitment of the kick-off on Saturday at 9:30. Be in the big children’s parade starting over by the UofA BookStore. The Stocker Foundation will give away 5,000 kids books in the children’s area, plus there’s a teen area, stages with fun entertainment and a literary circus!

February 2018