ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – It hasn’t even officially begun, and already, the 11th annual Children’s Art and Literacy Festival (CALF) is setting new records. More people are expected to attend than ever before, as an army of people behind the scenes are preparing for this large event. 

Typically, in Downtown Abilene, you may see a few pedestrians walking along the streets and some cars pass by, but soon, the scene will completely change. The streets will be full of children and families like the Kaufmann’s attending the CALF in the Storybook Capital of America! 

“I’m mostly excited of a person making the balloon animals and all of that,” offered Elijah Kaufmann, a child attending the event. His mother, Lyndsey, said she was just as excited as her children. 

“Making reading fun for kids that would never really see the fun in reading is what I believe is the best part about the CALF festival,” Kaufmann said. 

That is why Spencer Kasselman has been working hard to get their family’s bookstore, Seven and One Books, prepared. This is their first year being a downtown bookstore, participating in this festival. 

“CALF is one of those things that not only brings a bunch of people to Abilene, but it brings the Abilene community downtown,” explained Kasselman. “I think a lot of people don’t know we’re here.” 

Even though Kasselman noted his store’s success since opening last September, he said he expects CALF to increase sales. As luck would have it, CALF Director Riley Arnold included, “We have about 860 families registered, and we are actually up in our group day registrations, as well.” 

This is more tickets than ever sold, according to Arnold, “We’ve actually been working on it since the last one ended.”

Even though this festival is meant to turn downtown into a childhood adventure, Kaufmann said she wants to attend for herself. 

“It’s kind of like a birthday present to myself, because it happens every year on my birthday,” Kaufmann beamed. More than anything, she said she was excited to see her children learn outside of school. 

25% – 35% of attendees are expected to come from out of town, and the overall economic impact to Abilene is expected to be $225,000. That is additional money being brought in and spent within the Key City, which makes a major boost to the local economy. 

CALF will kick off Thursday, June 8 and continue through Sunday, June 11. Follow this link to register through Sunday.