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First Annual Grown-Up Book Fair Draws Over 200 Shoppers

LEWISTON, ME (March 3, 2023) – By the end of the night on February 16, over 210 exuberant shoppers had filed into the Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch for the first ever Safe Voices Grown-Up Book Fair. Held in the hotel’s ballroom, the event aimed to raise money for Safe Voices, the domestic abuse and sex trafficking resource center serving Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford Counties.

The night included over a dozen vendors selling classic book fair favorites like sticky notes, bookmarks, stationery and pens, all with a slightly more sophisticated feel for the 200+ grown-up shoppers. Two independent Maine bookstores, Lewiston’s Quiet City Books and Farmington’s Devaney, Doak & Garrett, supplied the books, while public libraries from Auburn, Lewiston and Turner held used book sales to benefit their general funds.

Authors Lynn Steger Strong, Melody Paul, and Lynne Schmidt sold signed copies of their work and chatted with attendees about books, writing, and their work as authors in Maine. Overall, it was a very Maine-forward event.

“Safe Voices works hard to be active members of the communities we serve,” says Safe Voices director of development and engagement Grace Kendall. “When a survivor needs to reach out to us, it’s easier for them to do that if they’ve seen us out in the community and maybe even already met some staff. So when an opportunity comes along to do an event like this, where we raise money for our work, do something good for our community and tell more people about Safe Voices, we get really excited.”

Natalie Pollock, the general manager of the Hilton in Auburn, agrees. “Nostalgia excites everyone,” she said. “It’s exciting to bring new events and ideas into the L/A area. We look forward to exploring more creative events like this in the area and showing there’s no need to drive to Portland for fun!”

The event was such a success for Safe Voices and vendors that 2024’s event date has already been set.

“We’re already talking with staff at the Hilton about doing this every year,” says Kendall. “We’re so happy the community responded so positively and that it was such a good experience for the independent businesses who took part. The Grown-Up Book Fair will definitely be one of our signature annual events going forward.”

Next year’s Grown-Up Book Fair is scheduled for February 1, 2024.

Artist Evelyn Wong of Fireball Bookbindery talks with customers at the Safe Voices Grown-Up Book Fair Photo Credit: Ella Fenderson

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