This year’s Savannah Quill Sweets, Treats and Reads Fall Festival is a unique combination of book festival, writers' meet-up, cosplay convention, family fun day and community outreach.
Event organizer and Savannah Quill creator Adam Messer hopes everyone, young and old, walks away from the event feeling more connected to local and indie authors and enthusiastic for helping our community find ways to promote literacy. The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 20 at Cottonwood Suites in Pooler.
Do Savannah met up with Messer to talk about this year’s event, his passion to promote literacy and how the community can get involved in spreading his mission.
Have you always been drawn to reading and writing? When did your passion for both begin? And what led you to create The Savannah Quill?
Messer: My love for reading began at an early age. Both of my parents were avid readers, and we would go to the library as well as used book stores to pick up books. I began writing in grade school, and by the time I started high school, I started creative writing; mostly poetry, but I loved drawing and created new pieces every day.
I wrote a lot of business and academic papers throughout college focusing on leadership development. I love helping others, and leadership means helping others succeed.
I started The Savannah Quill in May 2016 to connect writers and readers to promote literacy. I have met a lot of different people, from well-known authors, to indie authors, to aspiring authors. My mission is to promote literacy because literacy, the skills of reading and writing, enables people to reach goals and build success in life.
One does not need an education or a degree to always be successful, but one definitely needs literacy.
This is the second time for this event — how did last year's convention go and what's different this year?
Messer: I feel last year's convention was a great honor to host. Although we had a small turnout, the people who came enjoyed connecting with authors and other readers. The kids loved our Savannah Potterfest trivia and costume contest.
This year, I changed the venue to the Cottonwood Suites because they have a large indoor convention center, and we added a few new things.
We are still focused on literacy, so I wanted to make it more of a family fun day. We added fall vendors with arts and crafts, we are doing a trick-or-treat where we encourage everyone to come dressed up for Halloween, as well as the Kona Ice truck is coming.
We will also have Black Panther cosplayers from the UsualRangers5 group taking photos with the kids and judging our costume contest.
What can guests expect at this year's author convention? Any highlights you're excited about?
Messer: We have a lot of activities planned for the guests this year. We added fall vendors with arts and crafts, and we have over 25 authors scheduled to attend. We will have author panels, a paranormal panel with Ryan Dunn, our Savannah Potterfest Trivia contest, and a costume contest afterward.
Our authors have a wide range of genres, from children's books, to horror, fantasy, mystery, non-fiction and more. The thing I love about an indie book festival like this is readers get a chance to meet and talk with authors. Our authors love our readers, and it is a great opportunity to get out in the community and promote literacy.
I hope we can encourage kids to see how awesome reading is. Reading and writing opens up new worlds through imagination. We cannot travel through space and visit new worlds in real life, but we can with a book. Kids are entertained with smartphones, videos and music, and I hope to help ignite the same passion in reading as they do for playing on an app.
Imagine a world where kids wanted to read every day for fun? Our future leaders would be incredibly clever by the time they grow up.
How can the community get involved to help in your mission to promote literacy in our area?
Messer: We are collecting donations for Blessings in a Book Bag Inc. Weslyn Bowers, who founded Blessings in a Book Bag, released her new book "I Needed This" this year and will be one of our guest authors.
I love what Weslyn does for the kids in our community and wanted to work with her. I decided it would be a great way to give back to our community by collecting school supplies and canned and dry food goods for the kids in our area. We are asking people to bring pencils, paper, crayons, and canned goods that are easy-to-make meals for the kids like ravioli, mac and cheese and microwave meals that do not have to be refrigerated, like Dinty Moore meals. And, we are offering 10 percent off for people who bring donations; one discounted ticket for one donation. Kids under 10 get in for free with paid adult admission.
People who want to help can come out and show support for our local authors and fall vendors. Indie authors spend a lot of time crafting their story, and love connecting with readers. Getting people excited about writing and reading helps promote literacy in our community.
IF YOU GO
What: The Savannah Quill Sweets, Treats & Reads Fall Festival
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 20
Where: Cottonwood Suites, 301 Governor Treutlen Drive, Pooler
Cost: $10 for adults, free for children 10 and younger with paid adult admission; 10 percent discount with school supply or food donation (limit one per ticket)
Info: savannahquill.com, eventbrite.com