Blue Ridge Bookfest Farewell
It is with a mix of happy memories and regret that we must announce the demise of the Blue Ridge Bookfest. A post-event assessment made it clear that the event cannot continue. The reasons are many and varied. Below are just three.
Attendance has not lived up to expectations. The public seems less interested in meeting authors than in the early years. Internet, e-books and audio books have grown strong.
Donor and sponsor funding have declined while the expense of bringing in authors has increased. The financial gap grew each year. The event did not charge admission.
Volunteers have not come forward in sufficient numbers.
Over the eight years we hosted more than three hundred talented authors and workshop leaders. We will never forget their presentations and their books. Their comments regarding the event were always positive and helpful. We send our thanks to each of them.
We have enjoyed some strong partnerships. Blue Ridge Community College and its Education Foundation have always provided space and support staff. The Henderson County Public Library has provided staff support and has made copies of the participating author’s books readily available. The Times-News and other local print publications and radio outlets got the word out. Malaprops served as our dedicated event bookseller. Local B&Bs donated many nights of lodging for visiting authors. Shipman Catering was always ready to serve good food. Blue Ridge Literacy Council, the Carl Sandburg Home and the Henderson County Education Foundation shared our interest in literacy and lent their support along the way. The event required a team effort and we had that team. Without them there would never have been a Bookfest in Henderson County.
Our remaining fund balance of $1,515.29 will be donated to the BRCC Student Creative Writing Program for use in publishing their annual book of prose and poetry.
It was a great run of eight years. We made many friends and had many mountain-top literary experiences along the way. As we move on, we would like to urge all in the community to support literacy.
Speaking for the leadership team, thanks for the memories.