The annual Children's Arts and Literacy Festival, aka The CALF, returns to Abilene this summer, bringing to life the work of author and illustrator Brian Lies. Unlike the past couple of years when the festival was spread out over a few weeks due to the pandemic and limited socializing, this year's event will be more like old times. The CALF returns June 8-11, 2023.

CALF organizer Sidney Levesque says, "The Children’s Art and Literacy Festival is back on track this year with more fun and excitement than ever before." She adds, "There will be lots of activities of all kinds taking the stage and bringing to life the incredible works of illustrator and author Brian Lies."

The Abilene Cultural Affairs Council will transform downtown Abilene into a storybook adventure, featuring costumed characters, dramatic readings, and performers at several different venues.

The festival begins Thursday, June 8, around 6 pm, with a Brian Lies character costume contest, a storybook parade through downtown Abilene (the usual parade route), an artist talk, and a book signing.

Lies will be in Abilene for the opening events and his art exhibition at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. On Friday and Saturday, you can choose from several events scattered throughout downtown Abilene.

As with previous festivals, kids can collect keepsake buttons for their CALF lanyards as they complete activities. The activities will include readings of Lies' books, train rides, a musical instrument petting zoo, a magician, a balloon sculptor, and much more.

Purchase tickets online at Registration for the costume contest is free. This event promises lots of fun as you'll see in the included videos of past festivals. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit or call 325-677-1161.

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