Lethbridge Public Library hosts the 9th Annual Word On the Street Festival at their downtown location on Sept. 21, from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.
“The Word On The Street is a national celebration of literacy and the written word; it is a one-day outdoor literary event with author readings, workshops and panels, exhibitors all in a fun street fair setting,” says Elisabeth Hegerat, Manager of Community and Economic Advancement at the public library.
Hegerat notes Word on the Street is a national organization who works with regional festivals in Toronto, Halifax, Saskatoon, and Lethbridge. The festival in Lethbridge is free to attend, family friendly, and will feature children's authors and activities, a teen author stage and writing contest, two adult author venues, a comics tent, a local Indigenous stage, live music, an exciting exhibitor marketplace, food trucks and a scavenger hunt for all ages with prizes.
“We’re always trying something new every year, and we strive to create a local festival that everyone can attend, represents the diversity of our community, and is accessible to all ages,” Hegerat says. “The heart of the festival stays the same, however. It is a literary festival celebrating the written and spoken word.”
In addition to many activities, the Festival will also feature many guests including picture book author Hazel Hutchins and illustrator Ruth Ohi, award-winning indigenous poet and author Lee Maracle. Media guests at the festival will include host of CBC Radio North and novelist Waubgeshig Rice; Edmonton food blogger cookbook author Karlynn Johnston, and beloved children's performer Fred Penner.
Hegerat says the library has been running the Lethbridge version of the Word on the Street Festival since 2011 and the festival continues to grow.
Over the years, workshops and panels about writing, a teen short story contest, a comics and graphic novel program, a series of indigenous workshops and presentations, and live closed captioning and ASL interpreters have been added to help as many people as possible enjoy the event, Hegerat says.
“There are many people at the library involved in planning this festival and a planning committee of community volunteers also help plan for its success,” Hegerat says. “It’s been very gratifying to see the event become something that people look forward to every year.”