After the 2020 cancellation because of COVID, Lit Fest 2021 was rather lackluster. Then in 2022, the first day (Saturday) was delightful. Passers-by signed up for our email list in numbers that exceeded those for both days of some past years. But Sunday brought torrential rains that shut down the event. So we were curious to see what 2023 would bring.
I’m happy to say...it was wonderful. This year’s Lit Fest was held on the weekend of September 9 – 10. Once again we were back under the IWPA (Illinois Woman’s Press Association) tent in the Printers Row neighborhood along Dearborn Street in the South Loop. The weather was pleasant, attendance was strong and IWOC’s table practically floated in the sea of booksellers, authors, and exhibitors.
Not only that, but quite a few visitors lingered at our table to hear our volunteers extoll the benefits of IWOC membership. We gained several new members and a healthy number of signups for our email list —101 sign-ups in total for the two days — thanks to the contagious enthusiasm and winning spirit of our volunteers.
Speaking of volunteers, a great big thank you to the twelve folks who joined me in promoting IWOC at Lit Fest. They were: Thomas Thorson, Joseph Wycoff, Nonku Adumetey, Jill Grant, Kathryn Occhipinti, Anne Hagerty, Jeff Steele, Laura Stigler, Dominic Calabrese, Sheila Malloy, Joanna Zuno and Lynn Wendt. We also had four IWOC authors (Thomas, Nonku, Kathryn and Joseph) display their books and enjoy sales.
We’re now looking forward to building on the success of Lit Fest 2023. Given the high level of volunteers we had this year, I’m excited that our new coordinator, Joeseph Wycoff, will be managing IWOC’s presence at Lit Fest 2024. I’ll still be around, of course, but I’ve passed the organizing baton to Joe.
-- George Becht
Photo #1: George Becht; Middle Photo: Joanna Zuno, Laura Stigler, Jeff Steele; Photo #3: Dominic Calabrese, Sheila Malloy, Lynn Wendt, Nonku Adumetey
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