Children’s Book Festival Coming to Chappaqua

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Chappaqua authors Matt Van Fleet, left, Barbara Dee and Mara Van Fleet will all be attending the first annual Chappaqua Children's Book Festival in October. Photo Credit: JellyBean Pictures
The first annual Chappaqua Children's Book Festival has been slated for Oct. 5 at Robert E. Bell Middle School, 50 Senter St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Photo Credit: JellyBean Pictures

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Upon hearing that Westchester County’s most established children’s book festival — Children’s Book Day at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside in Tarrytown — was ending its 15-year tradition in 2013, Chappaqua resident Dawn Greenberg got an idea.

“I thought, what a great opportunity for Chappaqua to step in,” said Greenberg, who owns Aurora, a fair trade gift shop at 1 King St.

“At it’s peak, Sunnyside was bringing in 2,500 attendees, and I think we have the type of community that can even top that number,” she said.

Though Greenberg described the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival as “in its infancy,” it has  accomplished a lot in just two weeks. After creating a Facebook page for the event, more than 200 people have “liked” the page. The support outside of social media has been just as encouraging.

“We already have 85 volunteers on board, and we expect that number to continue to grow,” she said.

Those who made the Sunnyside book festival special — the authors — are jumping on board with Chappaqua’s rendition, Greenberg said. It has been slated for Oct. 5 at Robert E. Bell Middle School, 50 Senter St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Out of the 65 authors from Sunnyside, I can confirm that we have 10 of them saying ‘yes’ to Chappaqua,” she said.

Four of those 10 authors hail from Chappaqua. Matt Van Fleet, Barbara Dee, Mara Van Fleet and Jean Van Leeuwen have all confirmed their attendance in October.

The location is confirmed, but many details will be hashed out from now until the fall. Greenberg envisions plenty of fun, such as readings and book signings, happening inside and outside the school.

“I want to do a picnic theme outside St. Mary’s, and we want to involve the downtown merchants as much as possible,” she said.

For those book lovers already licking their chops at a book festival in downtown Chappaqua, the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival Facebook page might help you channel your anticipation. Every week between now and Oct. 5, the page will feature a festival participant on its page.

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Thank you, Dawn, for all you do for the community! Your efforts are greatly appreciated. - Joanna Segal

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