THE STORYBOOK CAPITAL OF AMERICA (KTAB/KRBC) — The 2021 Children’s Art and Literacy Festival (CALF) drew nearly 5,000 people from 25 states, according to the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council.
Organizers said the 9th annual event registered 4,642 people from 156 Texas cities and 25 other states. There was also a registrant from the United Kingdom. This year’s festival drew more people from more states and more Texas cities than ever before, organizers added.
This year’s festival celebrated the work of author and illustrator Loren Long. His original artwork is on display at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) in downtown Abilene.
Abilene, in recent years, has been dubbed the “Storybook Capital of Amerca.”
“What you are doing in Abilene is creating a safe haven for children,” he said.
The festival started with a parade on Thursday and continued all weekend with children’s readings, storybook characters, art activities and more all throughout downtown.
Long was also featured in an Artst Talk at the Paramount Theatre, along with book signings throughout the festival. Long’s books were brought to life throughout the festival and a bronze “Otis the Tractor” and “Otis’ Friend Calf” sculptures based on his book, “Otis,” were unveiled in the Adamson-Spalding Storybook Garden.
More than 500 people volunteered to help with the festival.
Next year’s CALF is set for June 9-11, 2021. Artist Sophie Blakall is the featured artist.