For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development

2009 Free Library Festival Showcases Award-winning authors, musical groups, and performers on April 18 and 19

A bustling two-day burst of books, music, and inspiration for everyone

PHILADELPHIA, February 26, 2009—Writers, performers, musicians, costumed children’s characters, and literary exhibitors will gather on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19, for a celebration of creativity during the Free Library Festival. For the third year in a row, the Parkway Central Library features two days of fun and free events from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Attendees can catch a reading by a bestselling author, dance along to award-winning musical acts, and peruse the street fair for great buys from publishers, booksellers, and authors.

The Free Library Festival embraces more than books and celebrates the mission of the Free Library of Philadelphia—to provide knowledge, artistic expression, ideas, and information in a variety of media. Last year, more than 27,000 people from the Mid-Atlantic region enjoyed the Free Library Festival, which strives to foster and showcase creativity in all forms, promising a burst of books, music, and inspiration for everyone.

“We are excited to continue our tradition of showcasing creativity and excitement by welcoming award-winning authors, lively musicians, and more to the Philadelphia community,” said Free Library President and Director Siobhan A. Reardon. “On behalf of the Library, I would like to thank all of our 2009 festival sponsors, especially the lead sponsor for the third year in a row—the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. During a time of economic downturn, it is truly inspiring to see civic-minded businesses and organizations support a program such as the Free Library Festival, which promises two-days of free fun for community members of all ages and backgrounds.” Additional 2009 Free Library Festival sponsors and community partners include Target, Bank of America, 6abc, KYW Newsradio 1060, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the City of Philadelphia and Fairmount Park, as well as official booksellers, Joseph Fox Book Shop and Children’s Book World.

The bustling weekend offers something for everyone—highlights for adults include Tony Award-winning Broadway and television actress Kristen Chenoweth (A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages), Vicki Myron (Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World), Olympic gold medalist and world-record setter Dara Torres (Age is Just a Number), Jane Hamilton (Laura Rider’s Masterpeice), Robert Roper (Now the Drum of War), former New Jersey Poet Laureate Amiri Baraka (Home: Social Essays), cookbook author and Emmy Award winner Christina Pirello (This Crazy Vegan Life), poet Katie Ford (Colosseum), and more.

For the young, and young at heart—Saturday kicks off with a storybook character parade. Parents and kids can join the celebration and march down Vine Street alongside their favorite characters, including Strawberry Shortcake, Little Critter, Clifford, Madeline, Frog and Toad, a creature from Where the Wild Things Are, Maisy, Biscuit, and Lilly. Among the many children’s authors visiting will be John Green (Paper Towns) and Peter Lerangis (The 39 Clues: The Sword Thief). Families can also clap their hands along to a spectacular lineup of children’s performers, featuring four-time Grammy nominee Trout Fishing in America and Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame. Other musical guests include Parents’ Choice Award winning group The Jimmies, music-makers Baby Loves Salsa, and Father Goose, a Jamaican born artist who mixes reggae, folktale, rap, and calypso pop.

Adult audiences can move to the music of Nation Beat—whose latest fusion release has been called the no. 1 world music album of the year—and Follow the Drinking Gourd, a musical trio celebrating the vitally of the African-American musical experience through a blend of spiritual and ragtime styles.

The First Person StorySlam, during which storytellers from Chicago and Philadelphia take the stage, promises to be another exciting draw at the Festival. In order to determine which city is the most “storied,” each contestant will have five minutes in the spotlight to tell a tale along the theme of “mortified.”

Visitors can also stroll through the street fair, which hosts publishing houses and organizations like the American Poetry Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and more.

The Festival’s distinct and colorful artwork captures the kinetic energy and creativity being celebrated, and the original piece was designed by local illustrator Tim Gough. An artist living and working in Philadelphia, Mr. Gough has created artwork for a variety of publications, including Philadelphia Magazine, Newsweek, and the New York Times. Before striking out on his own, Mr. Gough worked as a designer and art director at several agencies and design firms. Along with his current editorial work, concert posters, and his zine, cut and paste, Mr. Gough exhibits prints and drawings in galleries across the country. For more information about Mr. Gough’s work, please visit

To find out more about the Free Library Festival, please visit or call 215-686-5322.

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With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850