MIAMI — Art, music, food and books converged on the streets of downtown Miami Saturday during the Street Fair at the 29th Miami Book Fair International.
Attendees were met by aisles and aisles of vendors and sponsors offering a multitude of books from all genres, food, sweet treats and free gifts.
The fair was separated into different sections that included Children’s Alley, Writer’s Row and the World Stage.
Reading teacher and mother Danielle Cain said she attends the fair every year and makes a point to stop by Children’s Alley, and that it gets better each time.
“If you go in, everything in there says reading, supports reading,” said Cain. “You’re playing but at the same time there’s some kind of connection with literacy.”
Children’s Alley held several tents where individuals could sit in on book readings, along with author signings and interactive games all geared towards children in every age group. Cain says it is important for African-American kids to attend the fair.
“We need to get African-American kids to read, and whether they want to or not in these places they are,” said Cain.
Children’s Alley offered an interactive approach to literacy. Kids were able to make art and do science experiments. Face painters were on hand to make up children’s faces and characters in full costume entertained the crowd.
The Target Reading Room allowed children to make their own bookmarks and decorate mock reading glasses. It also allowed children to read some of the new books Target had to offer.
The fair was a welcome event for Juliann Roberts who loved that books were being celebrated. “We’re here because of my son,” said Roberts. “He wanted to come.”
Roberts said books are necessary for everyone. “You want to have access to reading and as much information as possible so you can grow as an individual,” said Roberts.
In the backdrop of Children’s Alley were drummers and dancers from Guinea. The crowd, overcome by the rhythm of the drums, jumped out of their seats and gave in to the music.
Culture and creativity collided during other musical performances throughout the fair which spanned four blocks. Performances included a duo of men jamming with a guitar and pots and pans. This street music had visitors to the fair dancing in the aisles.
People painted to appear as live statues graced the streets to visually stimulate attendees.
Joane Delorme, who bought her nephew to the book fair, said she was excited about what it had to offer. “There were a lot of great books coming in, Christian and religious books,” said Delorme. “And I saw an entertainment section, there’s a lot to do here.”
She was among those for whom the Miami Book Fair International exceeded expectations with its grand affair, and who already are looking forward to what the event organizers have in store next year when the event will celebrate 30 years.