Buckeye Book Fair seeks memories from first 35 years

Buckeye Book Fair seeks memories from first 35 years

Image Credit: Submitted

A Wooster and Ohio tradition since 1987, attending the annual Buckeye Book Fair has become a yearly event for many families.

“There are generations of those who have attended the fair growing up who now bring their children or grandchildren,” said Kimberly Crislip Payne, executive director of the annual fair.

In honor of celebrating 35 years of enriching literacy and supporting Ohio authors and stories, the fair is inviting the public to share their personal memories and experiences of attending over the years.

“We’re asking to hear from students and families, anyone who has held a new book at the fair, who has been touched by the fair or the programs it supports,” Payne said. “We want to collect those stories, celebrate the stories and share them.”

There are a variety of ways for community members to express and share their book fair memories. Letters, emails, photos and videos are some of the options that may be sent via the web or mail. There will be opportunities through the local library to facilitate the creation and sharing of memories by recording a video. The Wayne County Public Library also is scheduling some small group sessions in July to allow the public to participate in preserving archival book fair materials for display.

Stories, photos and videos may be sent through links on the book fair website. Registration for either the library archival activities or to record a video may be done on the same site. As of the time of this writing, registration has not yet opened. The group archival activities will be July 25, 26, 27 and 28. Times and library branch locations have not yet been determined.

Stories and photos may be submitted by mail to Buckeye Book Fair, 3540 Burbank Road, #133, Wooster, OH 44691.

Displays of all the materials collected from the public and book fair archival materials will be on display at both the library and at this year’s fair.

The Buckeye Book Fair should definitely not be judged by its cover alone; it’s far more than the widely attended annual fair. The fair is a nonprofit organization supporting and promoting literacy through partnerships with area schools, literacy programs and author lecture series. In 2020 a young authors conference was added to the book fair’s outreach.

The book fair is always looking for authors with a connection to Ohio. Authors or anyone recommending an author to the fair should reach out via snail mail. “You don’t have to be a native,” Payne said. “There does have to be an Ohio connection. For example, we have an author in Texas who writes about Ohio landmarks.”

People come from all over Ohio and surrounding states for the annual book fair.

“It’s very beloved, and I don’t know if people from Wooster realize just what an amazing thing they have put together,” Payne said. “It’s been built by the people who volunteer, and that’s what makes it work.”

The fair counts on volunteer assistance and community financial support and sponsorship. “Without this community,” Payne said, “there is no way we could make the book fair happen.”

Volunteer opportunities include book readers, inventory team, fair setup and book runners who help to keep the authors stocked with books during the actual event. Volunteers also are needed to learn the cashier system and work during the fair.

Cash donations are accepted online or by mail and are tax-deductible. Businesses interested in sponsorship are invited to email Payne at BuckeyeBookFair@gmail.com or call 330-249-1455.

Find the fair online and on social media at www.buckeyebookfair.org and @buckeyebookfair.

The Buckeye Book Fair will be held this year on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Greystone Event Center in Wooster.

“Our big dream,” Payne said, “is to find 35 different people of all age groups to share their stories. It can be like a family picture — the Buckeye Book Fair is important for people of every age.”

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