The 6th Annual Kingman Area Books Are Magic festival takes place this weekend, and according to vendor committee chair Kristi Turman, this year's festival is on course to be the biggest yet, with nearly five times the number of vendors as last year and plenty of activities for readers young and old.
Founded in 2004, KABAM started as a coalition of county library employees dedicated to spreading the importance of literacy to area schoolchildren. Today, the annual event has ballooned in size, with this year marking the first time that KABAM organizers have partnered with other organizations, including the Kingman Downtown Merchants Association, the Boys and Girls Club, and Kiwanis.
This week's events kick off at 6 p.m. today in front of Beale Street Brews coffee shop at 418 E. Beale St. with the 3rd Annual KABAM Slam, an open-mic "poetry slam" competition featuring young poets from around the county sharing their best. Participants and spectators will also have the chance to meet two nationally-renowned poets, Aaron Johnson and Ellyn Maybe, who will be touring various local schools throughout the week.
The festival continues at 6 p.m. Friday, when guest authors will receive a reception at Mohave Community College prior to the main event Saturday.
This year's guest authors include Chris Gall (author of "Dinotrux," "There's Nothing To Do On Mars," "Dear Fish" and "America the Beautiful"), Obert Skye (the "Leven Thumps" series, "Pilliage," "Choke" and "Professor Winsnicker's Book of Proper Etiquette"), Jana Bommersbach ("The Trunk Murderess," "Bones in the Desert") and the Daily Miner's own photographer, JC Amberlyn ("Drawing Manga Animals, Chibis and Other Adorable Creatures," "Drawing Wildlife").
Saturday marks the main event, with vendors, live musicians and authors taking over Metcalfe Park at 315 W. Beale. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., dozens of vendors will by plying their wares while puppet shows, clowns, face painters and even a troupe of medieval re-enactors will keep children and adults alike entertained throughout the day.
Authors will also be on hand in their own tent to discuss their books with the public and sign copies of their latest works.
At the same time, the Boys and Girls Club at 301 N. First St. will be hosting a huge garage sale fundraiser, while the Kingman Kiwanis will host its Dollars for Scholars fundraiser in the Powerhouse from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., including a live auction at 2 p.m., with a bachelor auction to follow.
The Downtown Merchants will also hold their monthly "Chillin' on Beale St." block party along Beale from Fifth Street to First.
Each of the separate events is being linked together thanks to assistance from John Kirby of the Lingenfelter Center, Martin Swanty Chrysler Dodge Jeep, and the Kingman Army Airfield Museum, who are donating the use of buses, trucks and trams to shuttle attendees from event to event.
"We have created actual event bus stops for the day," Turman said.
"We have nine bus stops right now that will be taking people free of charge in between the events, so they can hop on a bus and go to whatever event they so desire throughout the day on Saturday."
For more information on this year's KABAM festival, visit www.kingmankabam.org or call Turman at (928) 692-5754.