The LA Times Festival of Books is a big celebration of books and authors and the people who love books and authors! It happens every year on an April weekend; this year's festival was my third time going.
Author Joyce Maynard and I during a signing of her book, Labor Day (one of the freebie books I got this year!).
I'm still trying to figure out how to make my festival trips awesome, but I think the secret is in packing my schedule full of panels and signings. (Which I didn't do this year-- mistake!-- and that's why I'm determined to make next year EVEN BETTER.)
The best part of this year's festival for me was definitely meeting up with fellow bloggers. Worst part: listening to an author read his poetry in the style of William Shatner.
The shuttle stop at Union Station. The festival shuttle is free and runs about every 20 minutes or so.
Here is some advice on how to rock #bookfest, which I have curated from years of wandering around not knowing what to do.
Talk to the people in the booths! They're trying to sell you something for sure, but they can also be really nice. Do NOT sign up for the "win a getaway" contests. They just want your information for nefarious purposes.
Bring water, an umbrella/parasol, sunglasses, sunscreen, and anything else you'd need to feel comfortable on a sunny day. This year's festival had weird weather-- cold in the morning, scorching in the afternoon. Since most of it is outside, I was alternatively freezing and burning! Yay, fun!
Keep an eye out for the freebies. You can get some nice things if you're not afraid to stand in line for a little bit. This year I got two signed books, a coffee mug, and drink samples. Yummy!
Meet people in shaded places. Some fellow book bloggers and I met up during the festival (exciting!) and I was super glad that we managed to get under some trees. Other good places to meet: the steps of Bovard Auditorium, the secluded area between the food court and another building, and that one place I found but am not telling about because it's my secret place so there.
Speaking of meeting people: the Tommy Trojan statue is a central, easy-to-spot monument that works great for both finding your friends AND figuring out the festival map.
The YA panel was in 2013 and has Kiersten White, Rachel Cohn, Tahereh Mafi, Michelle Gagnon and mod Aaron Hartzler.
Ditch the panels you're not into and be prepared to stand in line for AGES for the ones you really want. Every year there's at least three Big Time Authors doing panels/readings/interviews, outside of the many celebrity-turned-authors. For instance, this year John Green and Rainbow Rowell were both there doing panels and signing stuff, and the lines were INSANE.
If you want to be guaranteed a seat, be sure to get a ticket online before the festival starts. And after the panel, prepare to stand in MORE lines-- this time for the autographing session! The signing line for John Green was wrapped around an entire park twice. If you really want that signature, bring comfy shoes and a good attitude.
The Keurig machine where festival goers got freebie full-sized samples of their choice of flavor. Yummy!
Eat at the food trucks. They're expensive, but DELICIOUS! I had a smoked apple pork crepe with apple chutney and some sort of salad. omg, so good! Protip: get your food early, as in before noon. After noon it is PACKED, but before is surprisingly empty of people in lines.
And most of all: have fun! If you aren't having fun, get a smoothie and try again.