The latest chapter in the Raymus family’s drive to enhance literacy in Manteca and the surrounding communities opens Saturday when the Great Valley Bookfest takes place at Orchard Valley from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thirty plus authors - including Manteca High graduate and New York Times bestseller William Kent Krueger - are signed up for the inaugural bookfest. The free event also features gourmet food trucks, arts and crafts vendors, as well as books for sale. There is also a kid’s Halloween costume parade at 10 a.m. to kick off the event.
“I love to read,” noted Toni Raymus who brought volunteers together to launch the bookfest after being smitten by a similar event near Atlanta last year. “It is one of my weaknesses.”
But it is more than just a love of reading hat drives Raymus and the 21-member committee that is making the bookfest possible.
“Reading is knowledge,” Raymus said. “It is the only way that you can stay informed and be a good citizen.”
She is the daughter of the late Antone Raymus who conceived and then bankrolled the Give Every Child a Chance free tutoring service for struggling school kids. More than 4,000 youth are now involved in its three basic tutoring programs in Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, Escalon, Weston Ranch, and Banta.
There are six tents that will be located in front of the movie theater with a different author interacting with those in attendance for 30-minute periods.
The day will also include a writers’ workshop, self-publishing seminar, slam poetry performances, and cooking demonstrations.
The gourmet food trucks include Cupcake Lady, Las Consuelas, Heavenly Dogs, Local Kine Shaved Ice, Papa Dales Drivin’ diner, Pizza Box, and Delicato Vineyards
A series of tents around the manmade lake in front of the movie theater will provide the venue for the presentations and other activities including the cooking demos. The gourmet food trucks will be parked in the drop-off zone for the theatre while the road running in front of the theater - from Bass Pro Shops to the roundabout with a fountain will be closed to accommodate arts and craft vendors. The meeting room inside Bass Pro Shops will also be used.
The authors attending cover a wide array of disciplines from children’s books to poetry, fiction, fantasy, nature, history, politics, western, mystery, cookbooks, suspense, romance, adult romance, poetry, and self-help.
A third of the authors have valley ties. Besides Krueger who is a 1969 Manteca High graduate there are Manteca residents Linda Kay and Kerry Harris, Ripon residents Don Moyer, Rob Kroese and Kerry Harris, Oakdale residents Kim Van Meter and Valerie Murphy, retired Manteca High counselor Steve Sonntag, as well as Cherish A. Doll of Salida and Linda Abbott Trapp of Valley Springs.
Some 1,000 youth participated in a bookmark contest that the committee conducted. The three age group winners will receive age-appropriate gift baskets form Barnes & Nobles.