Photo by CR Reardon with Ashley Grove's camera
On Saturday, Fire & Gold Belly Dance performed at the Tucson Festival of Books, which is a HUGE event hosted at the University of Arizona featuring local and national (perhaps international?) authors, performing arts, vending, food, science education and a whole lot more.
Even though I LOVE books I'd never made it to this event, due to the fact that it always seemed to conflict with other scheduled events this time of year. So I have to admit that when I heard we were going to perform at it, my first thought was "Cool" but my second thought was "What does belly dance have to do with books?" When I actually got to the event and saw that we were next to a circus (!) and followed by Colombian dancers, it made a lot more sense. It may be the Festival of Books, but there's a whole lot of general "festival" atmosphere to go along with the books. This is actually a smart move because it probably makes it easier for bookworms to get their less-bookish friends and family to come along with them, and gives some exciting diversions for little ones who might have a short attention span.
A word about outdoor events in Arizona: you never know what you're going to get when it comes to weather. Friday was windy, cloudy, and even cold at times, so I was pretty worried about Saturday. Sure enough, although it was warm and clear, Saturday was SO WINDY! In the picture above you can actually see the back wall of our stage blowing in. This made prop work a little difficult, and there was grass and cotton candy blowing in the wind, too. But despite this weather we managed to draw a sizable and enthusiastic crowd, including a bunch of little girls who were excited about the idea of belly dance lessons.
My original plan was to wander the festival for a few hours after performing, but the wind made that a less-than-attractive prospect, so instead a few of us found a restaurant for a bite to eat. I did get to see some of the booths on the way back to the car and I was really impressed by the variety! It seemed like every genre under the sun was represented. There were self-publishing authors, local book stores, large publishers, artists, local organizations and so much more! I hope that next year the weather will be more cooperative and I can really browse and find some new reading material.