I hurried along between the summer Farmer’s Market vendors, keeping a close eye on my watch. Fresh vegetables, sweet-smelling fudge, homemade poppyseed rolls–so much to choose from!
People stretched out on the grass in the park beside the market, relaxing, but I was rushed, with just a few minutes until the big event I was reading at, Words in the Park, was scheduled to begin.
Words in the Park is a program funded by a number of Saskatchewan organizations including the City of Regina, the Regina Public Library, the Saskatchewan Publishers Group, the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, along with Saskatchewan Lotteries and SaskCulture.
Every Wednesday through the summer, authors are invited to read from their works over the noon hour. The city sets up chairs for listeners and a microphone and speakers for writers. Authors can display and sell their books before and after the event begins.
Of course, it’s all about the stories the writers have to share! I was thrilled to be able to participate, reading from L is for Land of Living Skies, my latest nonfiction book, an ABC book about Saskatchewan for all ages.
While Words in the Park has been going for a number of summers, Regina’s new City Square Plaza is a brand new edition to the city’s downtown, providing an amazing venue for outdoor cultural activities. Here’s a YouTube Video from October, 2011, when the lights were turned on to this great new area.
The day I visited there was plenty going on! I’d missed Saskatchewan’s first-ever Fashion Week, which had been one of the spring’s premiere events in the square–next year it moves to a priority on my list of things to do. I’d even missed the Folk Festival a few weeks earlier, since I was out-of-town. But, here I was, ready to be part of the summer’s last Words in the Park event.
This book, thanks to my editors and illustrator, captures so much of what I love about the province of Saskatchewan. The illustrator, Lorna Bennett, is from Alberta. We worked very closely on the book, as about half of the paintings are done from photos of my travels around Saskatchewan, and the other half from Lorna’s journeys and research.
Our audience was mixed–from families who came out just to the event in the park, to teens enjoying a picnic on the grass with a meal from the mobile vendors, to office workers taking walks on their noon hours, to people carrying bags (like me!) from the Farmer’s Market or the Mall. But they all had one thing in common, which was having a great time!
Barbara Haddow hosted the noon performance. She was an amazing volunteer who jumped into her role with enthusiasm, donning an old-fashioned dress that took us all back in time to afternoon picnics of long ago.
It was an iffy-kind-of-weather day–if we hurried, we probably wouldn’t get wet. I was first, followed by David Sealy and Melanie Schnell. Between us we gave the audience a taste of poetry, pictures, plays and a novel. While the weather nearly held out until the scheduled finish, Melanie had to stop reading on a cliffhanger.
We all agreed it was an excellent day, though, despite the weather. And now that I’ve discovered how many exciting things there are to see in downtown Regina in the summer, I’ll plan a few more afternoon trips to the city next summer.