• 2019 Outdoor Fair

Bay Area Book Festival
Free Outdoor Fair

Downtown Berkeley
Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park
See a list of our exhibitors here

11am – 5pm Saturday & Sunday

The festival’s free Outdoor Fair is a lively, immersive experience jam-packed with fun and exploration for festivalgoers of all ages and interests. The heart of Northern California’s largest weekend literary event beckons book lovers to meet favorite authors, discover new reads, catch live performances on four outdoor stages, relax and unwind, and enjoy fresh, local food.

Nearly 200 exhibitors including acclaimed and emerging authors will be joined by an eclectic array of independent booksellers, publishers, poets, book artists and thought leaders from all over the region, nation and the world.

Anchored by a 600-seat outdoor stage with prominent literary talent hosted by the San Francisco Chronicle, this year’s festival will also feature “Wunderbar Together,” a major new exhibition showcasing German literature, art and culture.

Children and families can create their own books, make original art with found objects, and participate in a wide range of STEM and STEAM activities in the Family Fun Zone.  Tons of hands on fun will be hosted by lauded local organizations such as the Chabot Space & Science Center, The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, Habitot, 826 Valencia, Little Feminist, and Bay Area Garden Railway Society.

NEW ─ LA COCINA FOOD COURT!

This year we launched an innovative new partnership with La Cocina to bring sustainably-sourced, mouth-watering eats to the festival. The nationally-recognized nonprofit incubator kitchen has pioneered a movement to help mostly women of color and immigrants cultivate food businesses.  More on the women of the La Cocina Food Court here.

YOUNG READERS STAGE

Geared toward children and tweens, this new stage is where lively readings and discussions, illustrator demos and other book-related fun will take place. The afternoon program will be dedicated to middle grade readers with an exciting, interactive program in which tweens act as moderators and interviewers. Topics range from pirates and spies to taking a stand and breaking the rules.

STORYTIME CIRCLE

Youngsters will be entertained and inspired as they tune in for read-alouds from authors and illustrators of their favorite books. This intimate setting allows children to fully immerse themselves in the stories and visuals up close. Readers include Ying Chang Compestine, Tim McCanna, Cindy Derby, K-Fai Steele, Margaret Greanias and many more.

WORD POWER STAGE

This eclectic program for all ages will feature poetry, author duels and community conversation adjacent to the outdoor fair’s new La Cocina Food Court replete with picnic tables and theater-style seating. Groove with the Grammy- nominated Alphabet Rockers who are returning to host another inspiring, fun-filled program of hip hop-themed community action.

Check out the first-ever Young Adult and Middle Grade adaptations of the enormously popular Literary Death Match — an uproarious, interactive writer’s game show that mixes stand-up comedy and poetry/prose slam. Authors perform selections of each other’s work judged by local teens and tweens. Also, hear personal stories from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria Writing Program for Native American Teens and much more.

READING LOUNGES

Take a break from the hustle and bustle in one of the outdoor fair’s myriad reading nooks. Slip into giant inflatable flowers, relax in comfy outdoor chairs from REI, or curl up with a book in cozy reading lounges hosted by festival sponsors Beneficial State Bank and Alibris.