This year’s Decatur Book Festival is about getting back to the festival’s roots

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt September 1, 2016
Tents are going up at the Decatur Square as part of preparations for the Decatur Book Festival. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Tents are going up at the Decatur Square as part of preparations for the Decatur Book Festival. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

This story has been updated.

The planning for the Decatur Book Festival is down to the little details.

As the tents go up on the Decatur Square, Programming Director Julie Wilson is juggling the schedules and accommodations for about 300 authors and 150 interviewers and moderators.

“It’s the tiny details,” she said. “Certain authors get keynote tickets. It’s coordinating golf carts for authors who have some mobility challenges, changes at the last minute, providing author information to volunteers and stage captains.”

This year it’s also about something else: getting back to the festival’s roots. The keynote event will celebrate the life of author Pat Conroy, a longtime supporter of the Book Festival who passed away this year. The keynote event will be moderated by his widow, Cassandra King Conroy, and Southern author Rick Bragg.

Wilson said the festival this year will be refocusing its attention on local authors.

“We’ve got a wealth of them,” Wilson said. For a full list of presenting authors at this year’s festival, click here.

The weather forecast is promising. It’s expected to be sunny with temperatures in the high 80’s. There will be thousands of people milling around. Wilson said organizers estimate 85,000 to 90,000 people were in Decatur for the Book Festival at some point during Labor Day weekend last year.

With that many people hanging around downtown, and expected road closures surrounding the event, taking MARTA to the Decatur Square is probably the best bet.

The Festival will begin at 5 p.m. on Sept. 2, but will really get going on Sept. 3 and 4. For a full schedule, click here.

The Police Department notes there will be a bike registration event in the North McDonough Street turnaround next to the bike valet. It will be held Saturday, Sept. 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The registration takes a few minutes and  makes it easier for officers to recover stolen bicycles. The Police Department will also register scooters that don’t meet the size requirement for state tag registration.

“Bicycles are a commonly stolen item and are not registered like vehicles,” Lt. Jennifer Ross said. “Bicycle registration includes bringing your bicycle, providing owner contact information, having the manufacturer and serial number documented and having a numbered decal applied to and a photo taken of your bicycle.”

Ross provided this list of festival-related road closures occurring over Labor Day weekend:

East Ponce de Leon Avenue: Closed from Church Street to Clairemont Ave at approximately 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016 until approximately 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.

–  West Ponce de Leon Avenue: Closed from Commerce Drive to Clairemont Avenue at approximately 3 p.m. onFriday, Sept. 2, 2016 until approximately 11:30 p.m.on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.

–  Clairemont Avenue: Closed from East/West Ponce de Leon Avenue to Commerce Drive at approximately 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016 until approximately 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.

–  North McDonough Turnaround: Closed at approximately 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016 until approximately 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.

–  Sycamore Street: Closed from Church Street to North Candler Street at approximately 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016 until approximately 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

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