ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Preparation for this year’s Children’s Art and Literacy Festival (CALF) is officially underway.  

“We hope that people will come down and plan their events where they’re in and out and I think everybody will really enjoy it,” said Abilene Cultural Affairs Council’s Executive Director, Lynn Barnett. 

This year they’re celebrating their 10th anniversary and expecting to bring 5,000+ people to Downtown Abilene. 

“It’s a good fit for Abilene because we’re all about families and we’re all about children,” said Barnett. 

Barnett told KTAB/KRBC the big event is one of the primary reasons why Abilene is known as the Storybook Capital of America. 

“It appeals to parents with young children,” said Barnett. “We have a lot of grandparents that come and bring in their grandkids and have a cousins camp during that with the weekend.”

Many families and friends look forward to attending the event each year as it brings new learning opportunities for young children across the Big Country and beyond. 

One Abilene mom said, “We’re so excited. Our favorite thing we’re going to do is the character breakfast, so we’re going to eat with all the characters and have all the books read.” 

For Kaitlyn Dillingham, she said her mission is to visit all the events happening this year. 

“Well, we’ve gone to pretty much all of them,” Dillingham boasted. “Sometimes we missed a little of it, but it was really cool!”

Different events will be spread out throughout downtown, including a petting zoo, art activities, a magic show, and so much more. 

“It’s just a wonderful way to bring their families together and to entertain them,” Barnett vouched. 

CALF kicks off with a parade which is scheduled to start downtown Thursday, June 9 at 5:30 pm. People are welcome to dress up as their favorite storybook characters and march in the parade.   

This is a four-day event with every activity Thursday free to the public. Tickets for the remaining weekend are still available for purchase until noon Thursday.