I’m a writer from Lewiston, NY, and I run a small, non-profit publishing company alongside a free community library out of rented office space at my former elementary school, Stella Niagara Education Park.
The Better Off Read Summer Book Festival is an annual literary festival held in Lewiston with the mission to encourage reading, promote writing, and celebrate storytelling. The festival features thousands of books available for purchase at discounted prices; vendor booths by local merchants, restaurants, artists, and authors; kid-friendly activities such as storytelling, face-painting, and balloon animals; a high-profile celebrity-sponsored basket raffle; and much more. This festival serves as my way of thanking the local community for donating books to my library throughout the year. However, it’s also just my all-out and sincere attempt at trying to show people that reading, writing, and storytelling genuinely can be so much cooler and more fun than they ever possibly imagined
The first Better Off Read Summer Book Festival took place at Stella Niagara on July 9th, 2022. The event was sponsored by over two dozen local small businesses such as Favorite’s Pizza, The Brickyard, and Orange Cat Coffee Co., as well as larger local companies and organizations such as the Buffalo Bisons, the Buffalo Bandits, and Wegmans. The event was a massive success and allowed for the festival to return again the following year.
The 2nd Annual Better Off Read Summer Book Festival was once again held at Stella Niagara on July 15th, 2023. The sophomore year for the event doubled the number of local vendors present and incorporated a number of new attractions for attendees to enjoy. Also, in addition to the large number of local sponsors, this year’s event received support in the form of unique raffle prizes donated by over 40 popular celebrities including Bruce Springsteen, Tony Hawk, Foo Fighters, Sarah Silverman, Bill Burr, Chris Pine, Aubrey Plaza, Lin Manuel Miranda, and more.
In 2024, the festival is relocating to Artpark and expanding to include an evening of live performances. The festival will remain free-to-attend during the day for the book sale, vendors, and countless other attractions. Then, the evening portion of the festival will move inside Artpark’s Mainstage Theater for a special night of live comedy and storytelling with tickets to attend available for purchase.
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