Read by the Sea kicks off its 20th Year on Wednesday

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A literary festival celebrating its 20th year will take place in River John beginning Wednesday.

Read by the Sea featuring readings by authors Colin Campbell, Mayann Francis, Kevin Major, Allan Cooper and Elizabeth Hay will take centre stage on Saturday, July 6, but there are activities leading up the big event that readers, both young and old, won’t want to miss.

“We do this to promote the literacy scene here,” said Monica Graham, who helps to organize the annual event.  “We aim for diversity. We want something for everyone we can think of. Men, women, different ages, different cultures and different points of view.” 

Saturday’s activities are held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the River John Legion Memorial Garden with free admission and will feature readings and interviews of the featured authors.  Live music will be played during lunch, food concessions are on site, picnics are welcome, book sales, author signing, festival swag and a fund- raising raffle will also take place.

It is an outdoor event so people will need to bring lawn chairs, but it the rain comes, it will be moved to the River John Fire Hall.

“We tell people to come prepared and bring your sun hat and your long johns,” said Graham. “There is parking available and bathrooms as well as concessions.  Books are for sale and you can bring your own to have them autographed.  We recommended you take a sun hat, sunscreen, bug-spray and layers for the weather.  Always dress for the weather.”

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A full schedule of events includes:

Wednesday, July 3, 1-3
Word Play at Mable Murple’s Book Shoppe and Dreamery.  The afternoon includes readings by children’s authors Jessica Scott Kerrin of Halifax and Arthur Slade of Saskatoon. Singer-songwriter Anna Plaskett will perform her debut children’s album, To the Moon and Back.  Sheree Fitch is the MC for the event and the afternoon will include participatory musical entertainment by Rainbow Express and yoga for kids. Bring your grownups, your beach blankets or lawn chairs, sunscreen, sun hats and your imaginations.

Thursday, July 4
9 a.m.-1 p.m. - Workshop for Writers.  Ugh I Hate the Internet hosted by Art Slade. Free event but pre-registration is required.  The event will take place in the Anglican Church Hall.

930 a.m. - River John – East Side Story Walk sponsored by the River John and Area Historical Society. Meet at the Heritage Museum.

630 p.m. – Family Storytelling Campfire on the patio of Caldera Distilleries.

Friday, July 5
3 p.m. Pictou County Writers Group Meet N Greet at the River John Library followed by an open mic.

Saturday, July 6
9-1030 a.m. – Pitch the Publisher at the River John Legion. Spectators welcome.

11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Read by the Sea Main Stage at the River John Memorial Garden – Free Admission.  Rain venue is the River John Fire Hall. Authors Colin Campbell, Mayann Francis, Kevin Major, Allan Cooper and Elizabeth Hay. Live music during lunch, food concessions on site, picnics welcome, book sales, author signings, festival swag and a fund-raising raffle. Brings lawn chairs, hats and sunscreen.