The vision for a spectacular one-day event to celebrate authors and reading is coming to a realization.
In place is a strong lineup of authors - including PBS anchor and Kansas novelist Jim Lehrer and Kansas Poet Laureate Denise Low-Weso - for the River City Reading Festival. The daylong event is set for Oct. 14 at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.
"We've done so much groundwork and for over a year had a core group of people serving on our planning committee," said Kassie Edwards, chairwoman of the festival's steering committee.
Now with less than two months to go, organizers with the Altrusa Club of Lawrence and its partners are looking for volunteers to help prepare for the festival, expected to attract 2,000 people of all ages.
The festival also will include workshops, crafts and food vendors.
"We're trying to do some of those interactive things as well," Edwards said.
Anyone who wants to volunteer can send an e-mail to volunteers@RiverCityReadingFestival.org. Tasks available include helping set up before or after the event and helping authors before, during or after their presentations.
Altrusa, which promotes literacy, is the event's underwriting sponsor. Other main sponsors include Lawrence philanthropist Tensie Oldfather, Capitol Federal Savings and The World Company, which owns the Journal-World.
Altrusa has partnered with Lawrence public schools, Kansas University libraries, the KU Department of Teaching and Leadership, Lawrence Public Library and the arts center. Lawrence author and illustrator Stephen T. Johnson and children's book author Lise Lunge-Larsen are also scheduled to attend.
Edwards said organizers are also looking for additional sponsors. The event is budgeted for less than $25,000, she said.
Tickets for Lehrer's talk at 11 a.m. in the arts center's theater will be free and distributed at the end of September at the circulation department at the public library. The theater seats about 300 people, and 100 seats will be available to watch a broadcast version of the talk in an overflow room.