If you’ve been reading my blog you might know about the Abilene Children’s Art and Literacy Festival (CALF). If not, the CALF is a festival featuring a children’s author that is held in June in Abilene, Texas and this year was the 3rd annual festival.
The featured author this year was William Joyce. The festival always starts on Thursday afternoon however we didn’t do any festival activities on Thursday so day one for us was Friday. We started with breakfast at the hotel and then headed off to try to catch the first reading time. There are six different readings total; each one is at a different location and there are six times throughout the day that you can go. I didn’t have a reading picked out. I figured wherever I parked would determine the reading since we were running a bit late. It took a while to find parking that morning because Thursday evening there had been a storm with softball sized hail and 70 mph winds. Luckily we were Anson when the storm hit visiting my grandparents so we missed the storm. Before we got to my grandparents house it had been raining there but when we got there it had stopped and there was a nice and complete rainbow.
There were leaves everywhere and they were covering the parking spots so I couldn’t tell where they were. There were also a bunch of cars with shattered windows and some with windows completely gone. Then when I finally did find a parking we had to move because a lady came and told us that they were going to be smashing out the windows of that building or something so they didn’t want the cars to get hit. We got back in the car and found another spot and ended up at the Center for Contemporary Arts for the first reading.
The reading here was William Joyce’s The Leaf Men. If you’re not familiar with the book, it is the book that the movie Epic was based on. After the reading we went on a tour of the Epic exhibit that featured drawings from the movie. Once that was done we went downstairs and the boys did the leaf owl craft. On a side note, the room where the craft was a photography exhibit and the photographs were amazing; I especially love the landscapes. I believe this was the West Texas Photographic Society Annual Exhibit.
After they were done with the craft we walked over to the Paramount Theater to watch the short film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. When it was done we walked over to the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL). On the way there we passed by the Abilene Public Library and the boys took a picture with the Jack Frost sculpture.
At the NCCIL there was going to be a reading of Dinosaur Bob but it didn’t happen because there was no electricity but they still had the book signing by William Joyce so the boys bought their books and we got in line for the signing.
Outside of the NCCIL was the Nicholas St. North sculpture.
Also outside of the NCCIL was the Little Jimmy’s Italian Ice stand so the boys each got an Italian ice, which they love.
From there we went over to the instrument petting zoo. We went last year and Connor loved it. JT had trouble getting any sound to come out last year but this year he had no trouble at all.
After the boys finished with all the instruments JT wanted to go ride the little train so we went over to get tickets. Our tickets were for 15 minutes later so we waited around there and saw Mini Moo before riding the train.
This year there were mini Dinosaur Bob sculptures hidden through the park. The only thing Connor was disappointed about was that there was not a checklist to find them.
After the train we had lunch at Cypress Street Station and then went to the Grace Museum for the next reading. The reading at the Grace was The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. As always there was paper covering the tables so that the kids could draw and the activity after the reading was to create your own book.
Once we left the Grace we found the sculpture of Sanderson Mansnoozie. I almost didn’t see it because it was a small one and placed on top of a potted plant.
The next thing we did was go to McKay’s Bakery so the boys could decorate cookies. If you’ve read my blog about the CALF before you might know that Connor dropped his cookie two years in a row but this year he did not drop it.
Once the boys finished their cookies we went to get some more sweets at Candies by Vletas. This year Candies by Vletas was participating in the festival by offering E. Aster Bunnymund chocolate pops for purchase. Visiting Candies by Vletas also got you one of the CALF pins and the E. Aster Bunnymund sculpture was located outside the building.
Next up was the autograph and photo session. The first to arrive was the Man in the Moon.
MiM was followed by Sandy, North, and Jack.
Last to arrive was the Easter Bunny.
We waited around awhile for Toothiana but she didn’t show up while we there. We saw her in the morning at the reading at the Center but I didn’t get a picture with her because I wanted to wait for the photo session. The boys were disappointed and we went back to the Center twice the next day to try to find her but we kept missing her.
We still had one place left to go to complete our activities for the day so we hopped on the trolley to Frontier Texas!.
Once we got to Frontier Texas! It was too early for the reading so we decided to go through the museum which I’ve written about before here.
The reading at Frontier Texas! was Bentley and Egg. They ended up doing the reading twice at that time because the room was full so we ended up having to wait again for the second reading. While we were waiting we went out to look at the rabbits from the petting zoo and the boys decorated their bags for the Easter egg hunt. After the reading we still had at least 30 minutes before the Easter egg hunt so the boys just ran around. The wanted to play tag with some of the other kids and they asked one little boy if he wanted to play but he said no so they just played by themselves.
That was the last of the festival activities for the day and as we were walking back to the car we found the last sculpture which was Toothiana.
If you’d like to read about the past years you can do so here and I’ll be posting day 2 in the next few days.