What to Expect at Your First South Dakota Festival of Books

South Dakota Festival of Books Provides Many Exciting Twists and Turns

By Chrissy Meyer, South Dakota Festival of Books Volunteer


Each year, the South Dakota Festival of Books draws in many new fans. Attending any event for the first time can be a daunting experience. Where do I go? What do I do? What experiences should I make sure I don’t miss out on? The South Dakota Festival of Books is no different in that first-timers must do a little research beforehand in order to best enjoy their experience. Here are some thoughts on what you can expect from your first Book Festival experience:

1. Lots of walking – The South Dakota Festival of Books in Sioux Falls is spread out over several venues in Downtown Sioux Falls. While usually workshops and activities are only blocks from each other, you will do a lot of walking throughout your day. Plus, South Dakota weather can be a surprise from minute to minute, so check the forecast and pack accordingly. Be sure to dress for comfort.

2. A full schedule of events – The first time I read through the South Dakota Festival of Books catalog and program guide, I was completely overwhelmed. So many amazing authors! So many fascinating topics! I found myself wishing I could be in multiple places at one time. My best advice is to use the catalog and website to identify your “can’t miss” sessions and build your festival experience around those activities first. With only a few minutes between most sessions, it’s handy to know where you’re heading ahead of time. In addition, be sure to schedule some time in your festival day to browse the book fair, as well.

3. An Author around every corner – In addition to presenting, many of the authors and writers at the Festival of Books will be attending sessions with you, as well. You may find yourself sitting next to a writer in a session, which is a unique opportunity to interact with some pretty fascinating people. For that matter, you can expect some incredibly diverse and unique individuals among all of the attendees at the Festival. Don’t be afraid to be friendly and strike up a conversation or two with a stranger and fellow festival goer. One thing we all have in common is that we love books… which means you may find a lifelong friend there among the crowd.

4. Thought-provoking presentations and conversations – The writers and presenters at the South Dakota Festival of Books will come prepared with sessions designed to challenge your thinking on a wide variety of topics. You should expect to be intellectually engaged during the sessions, and it’s a great idea to prepare ahead of time with some questions you might have on the topics being presented. There is usually a small amount of time for Q&A at the end of each session, but to ensure you’re getting the most out of your Festival experience, it’s a great idea to prepare ahead of time. Bring along a notebook or journal with some pre-written questions, and take notes during the sessions.

5. An incredible experience – The South Dakota Festival of Books is what YOU make of it, which means that if you’re willing, you will have the experience of a lifetime. As a first-time festival goer, it’s important to keep an open mind, be willing to engage with your fellow book-lovers, and prepare for a variety of experiences.

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