Decatur Book Festival


Pictures above: Canopies of vendors’ booths

Bright colored canopies graced the streets of downtown Decatur, attracting a massive sea of people eager to participate in the festivities. If anyone in Decatur or its surrounding areas needs an amusing way to spend their weekend with their family, friends and pets, they must check out the Decatur book festival when it returns next year. Filled with food, performances, lectures, and of course, books, the event brings together the community with attractions for people of all ages and with different interests.

Pictured above: Dekalb County courthouse, the center of the festival

Just as the festival brings people in conjunction based off a common interest in literature, the birth of the fair originated from Daren Wang’s successful attempt to agglomerate the efforts of locals who had similar ideas of creating an event that promoted and supported the world of writing. The book festival made its debut in 2006, and Decatur’s location filled with quaint shops and trendy restaurants proved favorable in attracting a keen crowd of over 50,000 people. Over the years it seems this phenomenon has continued and blossomed into an event providing a variety of activities outside of just literature. A typical day at the Decatur book festival not only consists of sweet deals on novels and book signings from renowned authors, but also contemporary dance performances, free food tastings, interactive visual arts booths and much more. Although the focus still remains on written word, throngs of people now attend the festival to celebrate and further learn about all the arts. We found that this aspect enhanced our experience attending the festival as the diversity of options provided to explore appealed to each person’s own interests.

Pictured above: A vendor’s tent filled with discounted books

The wonderful thing about the festival is that it offers a wide assortment of activities. Any bibliophile would have a delightful time rummaging through the neatly organized stacks of discounted books located in several of the canopies. Not only could they purchase books, they could also get books signed, or hear lectures from their favorite authors. We got the chance to sit in on a lecture by Yvette Johnson, author of The Song and the Silence. Johnson shared a small snippet of her new memoir The Song and the Silence and discussed how the events that transpired in her book along with her grandfather’s experience shaped her view of police 
officers. Initially she felt anger and frustration towards them, especially regarding the controversies she witnessed in the news, but after learning to, “see with better eyes” Johnson looked beyond their differences and formed workshops where she could work closely with cops to understand them and help them understand and better fit the needs of their communities.
 The topics of lectures varied making sure different interests and niches were represented. For those who do not find books or lectures fascinating, thankfully the festival producers made sure to include things to accommodate them as well. The poetry buffs who attended the festival were treated with a poetry stage that had hourly readings, as well as a poetry slam. The festival also put focus on emerging writers. A stage was set up right in the middle of the event for new writers tosell, sign, and speak about their books. Between the culinary demonstrations, dance performances and scavenger hunts, the festival truly catered to everyone’s appetite for entertainment.

Pictured above: Dancers performing at the festival

Overall, the festival provides a great way for people to interact with others in their community over their shared appreciation of literature, food, and other forms of artistic expression. By making sure to cater to visitors of all age groups and providing attractions that covered a wide array of topics, the event was truly a family affair. Next year if you happen to stop by town around this time, make sure to check out the festival and all it has to offer, or to just hang out downtown. Regardless of why you chose to attend, we can guarantee that a pleasant experience is what you will find at the AJC Decatur Book Festival.


“About the Festival.” Decatur Book Festival. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2017.

“Frequently Asked Questions.” Decatur Book Festival. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2017.

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