Cherished author and former New Castle native Jean Craighead George once said, “Be you writer or reader, it is very pleasant to run away in a book.” Children and adults of all ages must agree with this statement, as they all flock to Chappaqua each fall, when the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival comes to life. The six-hour event brings over 80 authors (the number grows every year) from all over Westchester County, and a few from New York City and Connecticut, into town to discuss their writing, read excerpts from their books, and sign copies for eager children. Attendees may also participate in arts and crafts activities, and enjoy food provided by a local caterer. Additionally, the Great Chappaqua Bake Sale serves up sweet treats for a donation to their cause.
Held in the parking lot at the Robert E. Bell Middle School, the festival enjoys a year-to-year turnout of about 4,000 people from Westchester & Rockland Counties, New York City, and Connecticut; the high response is good news to fans of the physical book, who may have thought it to be at the beginning of a gradual “phasing out” with the increase in popularity of digital media. But Greenberg, for one, isn’t giving in to the technology hype. “I fully believe books are here to stay,” she says. “They’re not going anywhere.”
The inspiration for the festival came after Washington Irving’s Sunnyside in Tarrytown announced that it was discontinuing its annual Children’s Book Day. “When I found [that] out, a lightbulb went off,” explains Dawn Greenberg, 2015 Chamber of Commerce President and the event’s Executive Director. “I thought, why not here? We have a community passionate about education and reading, and a beautiful downtown to show off to the County.”
“The work behind the festival has really been based on an ‘it takes a village’ mentality,” she continues, praising the town for its “enormous support” of the event since the very first day, “It’s truly amazing to see how much we have gotten done in such a short period of time,” states Greenberg, of the work put in every year. “We hope the Festival is something the entire community of Chappaqua can be proud of.”
For more info, go to: ccbfestival.org or search for Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival on Facebook.