Book Festival

This Saturday we headed downtown for the National Book Festival. We hoped to see such famous authors as Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, Tiki Barber, and more. As it turned out, we very nearly walked into a couple of them.
We drove downtown and arrived well before we wanted to arrive, but had to circle for 30 minutes to find a parking spot. It turned out that, thanks to Bike DC, it would have been a great day to ride our bike downtown, or take Metro. Closed streets and construction everywhere, ugh.
After we finally got to the festival, we were dismayed at the huge line. Turns out that Laura Bush was still there signing books, and the line was to get through security. Thanks to that brilliantly idiotic move, we missed out on seeing Jan Brett, who wrote The Mitten and other fun kids’ books. Instead we walked around for a little bit before making our way, after they took down the security line, back to the children’s tent. On the way there a golf cart pulled up next to us, and I nearly walked smack into Neil Gaiman (author of my favorite Sandman comic books and American Gods, among others) who was speaking at the Teen tent. We got to the children’s tent and saw the newest member of the New York Knicks, Chris Duhon, who was there as part of some NBA literacy program (not as an author).
I left Lisa and the kids to wait for David Shannon (author of “No, David” and others) and Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin (authors of “Click, Clack, Moo” and others) and went to check out the signing area. I was hoping that since we had missed Jan Brett’s talk, we’d at least be able to get the book signed. Turned out there was no chance in hell of that happening. I got in line ten minutes before she started signing, and the line was already 400 people long. She signed for an hour and a half and there were still 300 people in line for when she would start signing again an hour and a half after that. No way. Instead, I ran back and grabbed our David Shannon books and got in line for his signing an hour away from starting. I was only about 20 people back for him. He started signing just as Lisa and the kids arrived, and I sent Lisa over to the Cronin/Lewin line. Ellie ended up bonding with David Shannon as fellow lefties. Lisa reported that she had nearly run over Salman Rushdie with the stroller!
At this point, it was well past lunchtime, so I left Lisa in line to get the Cronin/Lewis signatures and took the kids for lunch, but not before snagging a picture of Tiki Barber. Lisa got the signatures just as we finished up lunch, and we decided to head home.
We may not have gotten every signed book we wanted, but overall it was a fun time, and we managed to avoid the rain too. Next year though, we’re leaning toward just going up to Baltimore for their book festival. They may not get the celebrity authors, but it’s much less crowded and more laid back than the craziness of this one.