WOW! That should be all that is required for my review of this weekend’s Buffalo Small Press Book Fair, but we all know that won’t suffice. The two-day event was my first time vending at a local book fair, but found that I was not the only one impressed with the turnout. Multiple vendors and repeat visitors were delighted with the fair this year. Whether it was the advertising by founder and organizer, Chris Fritton, the viral nature of social media, or the eagerly anticipated warm temperatures and sunshine, we received large crowds at the event. Some seasoned vendors told me it may be slow on the second day, and I was surprised to see just as many visitors.
I had the opportunity to sit near and meet many fantastic artists, writers and publishers; and I would love to give them a shout out.
On Saturday, I shared a table with Heather J. Macpherson, Executive Director of Damfino Press. Based in Massachusetts, they publish work online; offer chapbook, book design, and editing services; and hold writing workshops. They showcase poetry, essays, reviews & odd bits of language from a diverse and eclectic pool of artists.
Heather was only available to be at the fair on Saturday, but that gave me the opportunity to share my small corner the next day with Artist and Musician, Jeremy Stock. Originally from Buffalo, he has traveled the world and returned to share his creative talent with us. I sat in awe, as he drew caricatures of vendors and visitors, on trading card sized paper. His vibrant illustrations of The Muppets and Dr. Who doctors were fantastic. Jeremy, I am totally stealing that trading card idea for the next fair.
I was able to pick up a nice gift for my book-loving daughter, from Rachael Gootnick’s table for Just Terrific Handcrafted Goods. She creates beautiful jewelry along with providing graphic design services and book restoration. Her unique little leather-bound book necklaces, made my daughter squeal with delight, and I couldn’t resist getting one for myself, as well. Her friend and musician, Jon Lewis, even threw in two of his CDs.
With the fair being so popular, there were plenty of vending tables packed into the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, and I literally bumped into Albert Abonado, Director of Adult Programs of Writers & Books, a literary center based in Rochester, N.Y. They offer writing workshops and classes as well as reading and talks by visiting and regional writers. They even have an annual Regional Playwriting Competition held in collaboration with Geva Theater Center. Sitting right behind me, he had to listen to my quirky jokes and comments. Thanks Al, for putting up with my goofiness for two days.
I had the chance to meet up with Mark Leiser, Illustrator and co-founder of Fairfield Press. Home of the Umbrella Man, their books of haiku and artwork are sure to impress. Just like me, Mark had the honor of illustrating for Author Sandy Barton. He brought an extra special touch to her book, Room for One More (2015), a sequel to Discovery in the Woods (2014).
I could go on listing all of the great people I met and the incredible artistry I saw, but a writer has to show some brevity, although a little too late. I am truly blessed to have experienced the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair, and even after one day, have already started planning for next year.