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Editorial: Why I’m A Friend of the Festival

Festival Staff / December 26, 2016

My name is Jessica, and I’m a book person.

When I moved here in 2014, I had already read all about the Festival (though I had missed it by a couple months), and was definitely planning to attend in 2015. After mentioning it in an article about Literary Tucson on Book Riot, a friend got me involved on the back end, and I haven’t looked back since.

I’ve been enjoying the delights and pleasures of the Tucson Festival of Books for over two years now, but it was only recently that I joined the Friend of the Festival program. As an active member of the Festival Marketing Committee and a writer for and then managing editor of this blog, I had known about the group and its benefits for years, but hadn’t made that leap.

I decided that this year was the year to do it. Why? I’m not sure. It was early fall and maybe I’d just found myself missing the Festival so much that I needed to involve myself in it in some minor way. There was nothing festival-ish happening, my committee was on break, and I had nowhere else to go to feel connected.

So I went ahead and filled out the form, adding my name to the list of people personally invested in the success of the Festival and its beneficiaries.

I am not wealthy by any means, but I had the $50 to spare for myself and my husband to be a part of something that gives so much to its community.

What does my Friend of the Festival membership do?

  • Helps allow the festival to be free of charge for nearly 150,000 attendees by supporting the costs other festival sponsors cover
  • Provides monetary support to literacy programs working in Southern Arizona
  • Each membership guarantees one free book provided to a literacy program

All profits from the festival go towards funding programs like Literacy Connects, a local Tucson organization. As an avid reader, knowing that my contribution is helping a younger (or older!) person to not only learn basic skills necessary for making it through life, but also potentially discover their own love of and desire for reading, means a lot.

And of course, there are the perks:

  • An invitation to the Prologue Party in November or December, and a first look at the authors for the coming Festival—also a nice chance to meet people involved in the Festival’s steering and author committees
  • An invitation to a pre-Festival Friend-only author event
  • The chance to get tickets for bigger events before the general public
  • First pick for volunteer sign-ups
  • If you join at a high-enough level, you even get a parking pass during Festival weekend!

There are also little perks during the Festival, and some future year-round things to come.

But I didn’t join to get early tickets.

As a relative newcomer to Tucson, it’s wonderful to have a cause to belong to; a group that contributes to the betterment of individuals and Southern Arizona as a whole. I’ve seen what Literacy Connects, in particular, does for young people and old alike, and am glad that I can do something that...shall we say, hits two birds with one stone.

How much did you know about the Friend of the Festival program?

Is this is the year for you to join?

—Jessica Pryde

Named Sponsors

Arizona Daily Star
University of Arizona

Presenting Sponsors

Tucson Medical Center

Major Sponsors

Friend of the Festival
Pima County Public Library
Stocker Foundation
University of Arizona BookStores
Western National Parks Association
William & Mary Ross Foundation
University of Arizona - Facilities Management

Key Sponsors

Brucker Trust
Marshall Foundation
Monark Premium Appliance Company

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