About the Festival

The Missouri Book Festival celebrates the best of regional life, culture, and history with an array of dynamic programming meant to promote literacy and encourage reading. Events will take place in Washington, the quintessential Missouri town. Here, books that feature stories on the Show-Me State come to life in food demonstrations, sports exhibitions, performances, and lively author talks and discussions. Missourians of all ages will hear from regional authors while gaining insight into the content they produce and the writing process. Not only will attendees enjoy festivities that truly reflect our state, they’ll also have the opportunity to browse for their next favorite book!

Why Washington?

The Best Read Community in America, Washington is a beautiful historic riverfront town with a strong commitment to reading. In 2020, Washington and its nearby neighbors logged more than 1.5 million pages of reading! A long-running youth literacy program supported by dozens of community partners and the nonprofit Community Literacy Foundation has provided more than 20,000 new books to area schools and libraries. Hundreds of children, parents and grandparents gather at the community’s annual Family Reading Night each spring to celebrate the importance of reading together. In the fall, the annual Run to Read offers books to dashers, walkers and runners in exchange for a morning of fitness. Washington is well-known to authors from across the state—and nation. The community’s independent bookstore, Neighborhood Reads, and the Washington Public Library and its Friends organization, both work to introduce authors to readers of all ages throughout the year.

Planned Events

Thursday, September 12 and Friday, September 13

In-school programming at multiple schools for students in grades K–12 to promote literacy and celebrate the festival

Previous school programming included the Do You Know MO? game show, author talks, and meet-and-greets with Fredbird.

Friday, September 13

Opening night keynote event featuring guest speakers

The previous keynote event featured noted broadcaster and Missouri native John W. Brown.  John opened the program discussing significant moments in Missouri history and later interviewed notable Missouri natives including baseball player Rick Ankiel and actor and comedian Bill Chott.

Saturday, September 14

Festival day and featured programming throughout Downtown Washington

Planning for the 2024 festival is underway and will feature programming that celebrates regional life, culture, and history with activities for all ages. Activities from the previous festival included:

  • Author talks and writing/illustrating workshops
  • Soapbox derby and car show celebrating local automotive history
  • Circus acts featuring regional performers
  • Wrestling at the Chase tribute with professional wrestlers
  • Food demos
  • Musical performances
  • Historical reenactments
  • The Purina Incredible Dog Team
  • Literary characters
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Local vendor booths

Missouri Book Festival Photos - 2022

Photos courtesy of Jeanne Miller-Wood