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Planning Your Day at the Festival

Planning Your Day at the Festival

October 20, 2022

Everything you need to know to plan your day at the Kentucky Book Festival on Saturday, October 29 at Joseph-Beth!

Doors open at 9:30 a.m., and the first programs begin at 10:00 a.m. Authors will be signing all day, and we’ve added some exciting activities for kids this year, like a costume contest, story times, and more. The festival wraps at 5:00 p.m., and the full schedule can be viewed under the Events menu at

General admission is FREE, but you must pre-register for programs with Jon Meacham or Barbara Kingsolver by purchasing a book from our bookstore partner, Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Ticket links are below. All other programming—over 20 programs and activities in total—is free and open to the public.



Joseph-Beth, at the center of the Mall at Lexington Green, is surrounded by great restaurants and retail, with tons of free parking on-site.

You’ll find plenty of great places to eat on-site, like Cattywampus Station, Palmer’s Fresh Grill, or the Bronte Bistro (inside Joseph-Beth).

Family-Friendly Activities

With four scheduled story times, face painting, pumpkin decorating, a costume contest, two illustration workshops, and a scavenger hunt, you and your family can stay busy all day!

This year, every child 12 years old and under who attends the book festival on October 29 is eligible to receive a voucher for one FREE book! See a festival volunteer inside the Children’s Authors Tent to get a voucher (limit one per child).

Exit Survey

Finally, as you prepare to depart the festival, please take the time to fill out our online survey at kybookfestival/org/survey. By answering a handful of quick questions, you will ensure that the festival keeps improving every year. It’s your book festival!

KY Book Festival: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I buy a book to see Jon Meacham with David Blight (at 12:00 pm), or Barbara Kingsolver with Jan Isenhour (at 3:00 pm)?
Yes, while seats are still available. While there is no admission cost for the festival overall, these are the two “book-as-ticket” programs that do incur a cost to attend. These two programs (and these only) are to be held at the Lexington Green Literary Landing on the western end of Lexington Green. With most ticketed events, you leave the event with good memories and a ticket stub:  with these two programs, you receive a copy of the book as your “souvenir,” for the cost of the book. If you and your spouse both wish to attend, for example, you can leave the program with a copy for your home and a great holiday gift for someone on your list. To register for the Jon Meacham or Barbara Kingsolver programs or for more details, go to our events page.

Prefer to buy your book in-person? Not a problem! Booksellers will be on-hand to take your order before the Meacham and Kingsolver programs on Saturday, Oct. 29.

How long does each program last?
Most programs begin at the top of each hour and run about 45 minutes. But there are exceptions, including lots of activities for kids! Our Festival Guide, which will also be available in printed form at the festival, can help you find out when and where each program occurs.

Can you tell me more about this “free book for kids” thing?
We’re glad you asked! Every child 12 and under can get one free book: any kid’s book that’s part of the festival! Just ask for a voucher from a festival volunteer at the Children’s Authors Tent, which will be located just outside Joseph-Beth’s lower level, near the waterfront parking area. Once you’ve received your voucher and selected a book, head to any of the Joseph-Beth registers inside the store to get the voucher scanned before leaving the festival.

Can I get a free book for my other children?
Our free book offer is made possible through the generosity of our sponsors, and supplies are limited. Therefore, we can only distribute one free book from the festival to each child who attends the festival in person.

Can I have an author sign books I brought from home?
Unfortunately, no. Bringing books into a bookstore creates a difficult security situation for both festival patrons and our partners. Our 150 authors will have their latest books, plus many backlist titles, available for sale, and each of the authors is willing to sign and discuss their books from their author table.

Where’s Wendell Berry?
The author signing tables are spread throughout Joseph-Beth’s lower level, but Wendell and Tanya Berry will be signing their books upstairs in Joseph-Beth’s cookbook section, located down the left aisle from the main entrance (towards Brontë Bistro). Just use our Festival Guide or look for the signs!

What is the Readers’ Cup?
In celebration of the Breeders’ Cup, the Kentucky Book Festival is hosting a Readers’ Cup scavenger hunt! Pick up a game card at the Info Desk near the front entrance of Joseph-Beth’s upper level, then begin the hunt for eight of our equine-related authors with the help of our Festival Guide. Your completed game card can then be placed in the gold raffle drum at the entrance of Joseph-Beth, and a winner will be drawn from the completed cards.

What restaurants are nearby? Inside Joseph-Beth, the Brontë Bistro serves brunch, lunch, and dinner. Cattywampus Station (downstairs near the tent) offers milkshakes, burgers, chicken tenders, and more. And Palmer’s Fresh Grill has plenty of great options!

Thank you!

Thanks so much to all who attended this year’s festival! Please provide feedback about your experience by submitting a survey. 

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