SOUTH LOOP — Printers Row Lit Fest will celebrate its 30th birthday this weekend with a two-day street fair focused on books and the people who write, sell and read them.
More than 300 authors and 200 exhibitors are expected to descend on the free annual literary festival this weekend, which regularly brings more than 150,000 visitors to Dearborn Street from Congress to Polk streets.
"With the change that we've seen with the movement to digital, it's just really nice to not only celebrate the written word, but give the opportunity for these small book sellers to come from all over the Midwest," said Sarah Harrell, Lit Fest's events and sponsorship manager.
Lizzie Schiffman describes the event in Printer's Row:
"It's just a great opportunity to bring authors, book lovers, poetry readers, everyone together to just really have a celebratory weekend about reading, about writing, about ideas."
The Near South Planning Board founded Lit Fest in 1985 to celebrate the heritage of the neighborhood that once housed the printers of millions of national books and catalogs, including the "Wizard of Oz." In 2002, the Tribune purchased the fest, and both groups now work together to plan the event each year.
Lit Fest is free to the public, though reservations are required for scheduled events. A $30 Lit Pass is available to super fans, and includes two free tickets to an event, a one-year subscription to Printers Row Journal, and a commemorative 30th Printers Row Lit Fest tote bag, poster, tumbler, T-shirt and button.
Commemorative gear for sale this year features the 30th anniversary poster designed by local artist Tony Fitzpatrick.
The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.