Gaithersburg Book Festival 2011. Photo by Shashi Bellamkonda (www.shashi.name), Social Media Swami Network Solutions. ShashiBellamkonda, Flickr.com.
The Gaithersburg Book Festival has a few good things going for itself: plenty of workshops, author meet-and-greets, and the all-important free admission.
More than 100 authors will speak at the festival each, with a book signing to follow each session. Authors include Mary Downing Hahn, Jim Lehrer, Christopher Tilghman and sixth-grader Adjeoda Tekpor. (See the full list here.)
Guest readers include NBC's "The Voice" contestent Erin Willet, Gaithersburg native, along with Ironman triathlon champion Michele Potter.
Take a timeout in the coffeehouse area, with treats and coffee from Canela Bakery, and performances by local musicians and poets.
Panels discussions will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ian Shapira about spies, lies and the world of espionage; the future of the book and bookstore; and the Anthology of women writers with Alan Orloff leading the convo.
Bring the whole family because there's a childrens' village located on-site, offering activities, workshops and book signings for the little ones.
The festival (31 S. Summit Ave., Gaithersburg, Md.) is Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.