The sixth annual Southern Oregon Book Fair drew a crowd of book lovers to the Ashland Springs Hotel on Saturday. The free event offered a rare chance for readers to meet regional writers in person, and for authors to promote their work and network with one another.
Sarah Brown, a fair attendee and Ashland writer, said she found the event inspirational.
"I like this," she said. "It proves that you can actually complete something. That's why I'm here. I just think it is cool to be around all these people who have completed something."
The fair also highlighted the rich body of local writers.
"This is a very creative community," said Claire Krulikowski, the co-founder and organizer of the event.
The authors represented a variety of both fiction and nonfiction genres, including romance, mystery, business, poetry, spirituality and history. More than 50 authors were showcased.
Liz Robinson, a poet from Talent, was selling her poetry collection at the fair.
"This is an amazing place," she said. "What a fantastic mix of people and talent. We are so fortunate to live in this community."
Organizers said they were pleased that the move from the fair's previous location at Southern Oregon University to the Ashland Springs Hotel had led to more foot traffic and greater participation from visitors to the downtown area.
"SOU was wonderful, but the hotel is a great location for the fair. Downtown is just more accessible and easy for visitors to find," Krulikowski said.
Patrick Farrell, a visitor from Mountain View, Calif., had no trouble finding the book fair.
"This is such a friendly event — the authors, the people, this whole town. I'm just charmed," he said.
The first Southern Oregon Book Fair was held in connection with Medford's Art in the Alley fair, and has since moved to Ashland. While book signings are fairly common in the area, there was no forum for a large group of authors and readers to gather together at one time until Krulikowski and author Jura Sherwood co-founded the book fair in 2003. It has been a favorite for local writers and book fans ever since.