Smile Politely

The perfect blend of books and food

There are two things that I absolutely love. As a declared English Major, one is books, and as a self-proclaimed lover of all things food, the other would be cakes, cakes, and more cakes. So when I learned about the Edible Book Festival, discovering the perfect melding of my two favorite things was definitely a very exciting moment. 

Now going on its 10th Anniversary, the Edible Book Festival is where art, book, and food lovers come together to create, celebrate, and here’s the best part, eat edible culture. I talked to Dan Tracy, a librarian in the Library and Information Science, who is now going on his third year as the current general coordinator of the Edible Book Festival. As the general coordinator Tracy is responsible for pulling together all of the volunteers, finding judges, the festival is properly marketed, and basically making sure the festival gets off the ground.

Held at the campus YMCA on April 1st or close to it as possible, the space is reserved by the end of the fall semester with the bulk of work beginning in February, according to Tracy. Volunteers come from all over the community, and participants range from students and faculty, families, and anyone exploring their creative side and baking skills. After ten years of food literature, the Edible Book Festival has certainly seen its fair share of wild, funny, and very creative creations. When asked which his favorite edible creation was, Tracy chose the Wild Reckless character cake from Where the Wild Things Are, the fan favorite of 2014 and the current poster for the festival. Big, bold, and definitely wild-looking, the Wild Reckless cake captured the fun and uniqueness that the Edible Book Festival tries every year to convey. 

There are eight different award categories, ranging from best tasting, best visual representation, people’s choice, and many others. Despite the multiple award categories, “the festival is not about the prizes,” Tracy says. “Judges base their choices by appearance and it’s meant to be very casual and fun, so while we do give out prizes that’s not our main focus.”

I am a big fan of almost every festival out there, and the Edible Book Festival is certainly no different. This is a wonderful event for families, students, and anyone who has some free time and wants to experience the fun hilarity of edible art.  Accessible to everyone from six years old to seventy, the Edible Book Festival is able to take the joy of books and reading and turn it into something that every person can enjoy-food.

The Festival is being held on Wednesday, April 1st at the University YMCA, 1001 South Wright Street, Champaign. Check out the full schedule.

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