10th Annual CALF kicks off Thursday | KTA

Cute trumpets! Let’s make some noise for the 10th Annual Children’s Art and Literacy Festival (CALF) in America’s Storybook Capital® June 9-11, celebrating the work of artist and Caldecott Medalist, Sophie Blackall. We are preparing something so tasty that Sophie’s “Boars” declared it “delicious”, “delicious” and “divine”. If you’re hungry for fun, join CALF today!

The festival began in 2012 with a celebration of Dr. Seuss. Since then, CALF has expanded to 19 locations throughout downtown, attracting nearly 5,000 people a year from Texas and the United States.

The festival kicks off on Thursday, June 9 with Group Day for Daycares and Summer Camps. Nearly 700 children can attend Group Day who otherwise could not come to the festival thanks to our generous sponsors.

The festival opens to the public on Thursday afternoon with a costume contest, Storybook Parade and the unveiling of our 27th Storybook Sculpture based on the book “Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear” illustrated by Sophie. Sophie will join the festivities in Abilene, which includes the opening of a summer exhibition of her original works at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL), the first museum in the nation to exclusively exhibit children’s picture books. Thursday night, see Sophie in action at the Paramount Theater and sketch with her at the free “Sketch with Sophie” event followed by a book signing.

A festival pass is required to attend Friday and Saturday events. Activities planned to celebrate the 10th CALF include demonstrations of San Diego’s Animal Cracker Conspiracy stilt-walking animals, a live production of “Ivy + Bean: The Musical” based on Sophie’s illustrated book series, and a venue 10th CALF Drama Reading where we bring back favorite books, costumed characters and buttons from past festivals.

In addition to exciting new events, we’ll have festival favorites like dramatic readings of Sophie’s most popular books at six venues with artistic activities, ventriloquist Nancy Burks Worcester, Geppetto’s Marionette Theater in Dallas, the balloon show of Kornpop the clown, train rides, Abilene Philharmonic Instrument Petting Zoo, May Farm Petting Zoo and more! Kids collect CALF buttons for their festival lanyards as they complete each activity. The Abilene Zoo hosts animal encounters during the festival, and if you wear your CALF pass on Sunday, you can enter the zoo for free and experience more CALF with a reading of “Meet Wild Boars” and a pig race! If you’re ready to have some fun, sign up for CALF at www.abilenecalf.com. Thursday entertainment is free. Friday and Saturday passes are $8 for children ages 3 to 12 (2 and under are free) and $13 for ages 13 and older through May 15. After that date, passes cost $11 for children and $16 for ages 13 and up.

Abilene has the largest collection of public storytelling sculptures in the country. The Texas Legislature declared the official storybook capital city of Texas in 2015, and in 2018 the United States Patent and Trademark Office approved Abilene to trademark and use the term “Storybook Capital of America®” exclusively. CALF is a program of the Council for Cultural Affairs of Abilene, an affiliate of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce dedicated to promoting the arts and enriching life in Abilene, a city of 119,000 located between Midland and Fort Worth on Interstate 20. For more information and all schedule of events, visit www.abilenecalf.com or call 325-677-1161. For more information on other fun things to do and places to stay, visit www.abilenevisitors.comor call 800-727-7704.

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