book festival
When I was in middle school, I went to a daylong young writers’ conference with some of my classmates. We each wrote our own story, but the highlight of the day was getting a signed copy of Jean Craighead George’s Julie of the Wolves. It was the first time I’d seen a book signed by an author, and I marveled at the idea that the same hands that wrote the book I was holding had also signed a copy just for me.

As an adult, I’ve waited in long lines for the chance to hear some of my favorite authors read their own works and to have them sign my book. I am not ashamed to admit that I once nearly cried in Politics & Prose after meeting Tim Gunn. The excitement of a signed book and a chance to meet an author is a joy I want to pass on to my children, and the upcoming Gaithersburg Book Festival is a fantastic chance to meet authors of many genres.

Now in its fifth year, the Gaithersburg Book Festival will bring together hundreds of best-selling authors, poets, and songwriters from across the country to celebrate the written word on May 17 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on the grounds of the Gaithersburg City Hall. Whatever your preferred genre, there’s a bit of something for everyone at this year’s festival. I look forward to an afternoon where my non-fiction only husband and my fiction-and-a-little-bit-of-everything else self can both find books we love.

This year, the festival debuts an interactive schedule tool, allowing visitors to plan their day and make sure they don’t miss a favorite author. Click here to build your own schedule! I love that all of the books featured at the festival are available for pre-order on Politics & Prose’s website. If you order by May 14, your order can be ready for on-site pick up at the festival. Miss the deadline? Stop by the book sales tent at the festival to grab your favorite author’s book in time to get it signed.

This week marks the 95th Children’s Book Week, and the Gaithersburg Book Festival has lots of activities and authors for kids and teens. Head to the festival’s Children’s Village and Young Adult Pavilion where more than a dozen award-winning children’s and young adult authors will be on hand to talk about their books with young readers, and each presentation will be followed by a book signing.

The Children’s Village is also home to a variety of activities, workshops and performances designed to encourage kids’ interest in reading and writing – and foster a love of books. Workshops range from creating a simple pop-up book to perfecting college admissions essays.

The Gaithersburg Book Festival is free to attend, and parking is free too!


Allison writes about life at home in the Maryland suburbs at Home and Never Alone. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.