Every year the Children’s Book Festival is held at the Bottleworks in the Cambria City section of Johnstown. The area itself has become a cultural district featuring the Discovery Center, Ethnic festivals, and more. The Bottleworks itself displays art from local artists and offers many classes. The first weekend of April draws families from all over the area for the Children’s Book Festival.
This free event centers around children’s books with authors, illustrators, and local businesses and educational resources pregnant. In fact, I credit the Children’s book festival for helping us discover my son’s lazy eye. The blind association was there the one year and was offering free vision screenings. I took advantage of this with my kids. They had these cool, 3D goggle looking things that tracked the eyes and they noticed my son’s one eye was off. They suggested we take the info to an ophthalmologist. We did and found that my son has very low vision in his one eye due to a lazy eye! I got off track there but there are so many great services present to learn about.
There are craft tables galore for the kids to do for free. The volunteers are all so pleasant and helpful. The first station we stopped at this year, the kids got to make vests out of paper bags.
They have a number of special events available at different times throughout the weekend. Joe Wos, a professional illustrator and maze maker, offered an illustration workshop for kids in grades 3rd to 6th grade. An awesome opportunity for kids to learn some tips and trick from a real illustrator.
Camtran, the local public transit system, has been present the last few years. The kids have an opportunity to board the bus, talk to the bus driver, explore the bus a little. This year they also offered story time on the bus.
The Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown has a book sale with new books but they also have a used book sale. My kids each picked a book from the used book sale and they were only 50 cents each! Another awesome thing they do for the kids is, every kid that attends get a FREE brand new book. They have a table set up with all kinds of titles for babies up to middle school age. So no kids walks away without a book they got to choose. I think this is awesome that they do that.
It’s fun to interact with the businesses, authors, and illustrators. We enjoy seeing Julie from Macaroni kids for the Johnstown/Altoona/Laurel Highlands area. Always there with a smile and macaroni necklaces for the kids to make. They really enjoy this craft!
There’s so much to do at the Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown, we usually don’t get to do it all. They have food truck available outside, face painting, and more. This event really renews my kids’ interest in reading. It’s a great way for kids to meet the people that actually write some of their book. It’s a great way to learn about local resource for kids.
Huge thanks to all involved in this festival. It is definitely something my kids look forward to each year. Because it’s a free event and every kids walks away with a free book, it’s help bring people from all walks of life together to share in the joy of reading!