Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Inaugural Festival Report

The Governor’s Inaugural Family Festival was amazing. First of all, the Ramada Inn in downtown Topeka is a great hotel, with a huge atrium built to look like a European villa and many meeting rooms and ballrooms decorated with wonderful pieces of architecture—a staircase and ballistrade, windows, mirrors, and fireplaces—salvaged from the first Kansas Governor’s Mansion, a Queen Anne mansion built in 1886 and, sadly, demolished in 1964.

On Sunday, every square inch of the atrium, ballrooms, and meeting rooms was packed with stuff from Kansas—food, an art exhibit, food, crafts, quilts, food, music, storytellers, Wizard of Oz characters (no flying monkeys, unfortunately), food, history exhibits, more music, wildlife exhibits, hands-on children’s activities, and I think there was some food.

And, oh yeah, some authors. I hung out with other Kansas Notable Books authors, signing books and chatting with many of the thousands of people who came through—including one of my old painting professors that I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years, who is now retired and living only a few miles from my house.

I also met the newly elected attorney general and got my picture taken with the governor, sampled chocolate pizza and ate spanakopita and baklava for lunch (any day that includes both chocolate and baklava is, by definition, a great day). I’m so glad I was invited.

Several of the Kansas Notable Books authors in the Claflin Books booth. Stormy Lee Kennedy, co-owner of Claflin and a member of the Notable Books committee, is at the far left.

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