Braidwood's biannual long weekend book fair at the National Theatre has become very popular with locals and visitors. Held on the January and June long weekends the event picks up lots of passing trade from travellers as well as locals and those who make Braidwood a destination.
Some even make it a deliberate pilgrimage, staying overnight for a short getaway to stock up on reading material or look for rare finds amongst the thousands of titles. It is also a great opportunity for visitors to explore the town with its selection of cafe's antique stores and interesting architecture. Braidwood today is as much a destination as it is a convenient stopping point to break a journey to and from the coast or to other destinations.
The Anglican Church's Monster Book Fair is now getting penciled in on many people's calendar as something special to go and see.
Right in the heart of the main street the National Theatre also houses the Tourist Information Centre and is conveniently opposite the Braidwood Bakery and Community Bank with lots of other interesting shops close by.
The fair raises much needed money for the church, its maintenance and for the social programs that help the local community. The prime location means it gets a large number of people dropping in who did not realise the fair was on. Many of these customers, will return in the future to search through the rows of books for even more titles to add to their collection and some even donate books so others can enjoy them.
Many visitors also choose to come on the Sunday or the middle day of the three day event to avoid the inevitable heavy traffic bolstered by the weekend getaway traffic.
The books, DVDs and CDs are donated to the cause by people, not only locals who no longer require of don’t have storage space for the fiction and non fiction titles anymore. Some are from family estates or people who need to downsize or clear space to make way for more reading material.
People who walk through the National Theatre doors to brows are as different as the titles on display. According to volunteer Lyn Cram some people are looking for a good read, others are more interested in the technical books and text books or craft and cooking titles. Other people are looking for collectables and rare books that they can pick up at way below their collectable value.
People can fill a bag or a box with books for even greater discounts and on larger books they can negotiate a price. The popularity of the event proves there is still great interest in the printed word from people of all ages.