It is time to reflect back on one of our most treasured traditions here at WNYBAC, our annual Edible Book Festival, which held on March 30th! A fun fact about this holiday is that it is traditionally celebrated by libraries on or around April 1, to honor Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the author of Physiologie du gout (The Physiology of Taste), who is generally regarded as an early “foodie”.

The Edible Book Festivals began with the Books2Eat website in 2000 and is now celebrated internationally. The event was initiated by Judith A. Hoffberg and Béatrice Coron. The official website says that along with celebrating the previously mentioned author,  April Fools’ Day is also related as “the perfect day to eat your words and play with them as the ‘books’ are consumed on the day of the event.”

Edible Book craft created by Erdene Dominguez inspired by the novel Warriors by Erin Hunter

Edible Book Festivals around the world typically feature creatively crafted food projects that are inspired from famous books and stories. These books may physically resemble the books they are inspired from, refer to a specific aspect of a story, or they might incorporate text from the book. There are judges assigned to select winners to receive special prizes. There are popular prize categories tailored to each establishment. At WNYBAC, we have categories of our own such as: Most Book-Like, Best Tasting, People’s Choice, The Best Presentation and Funniest & Punniest.

The People’s choice voting station

This year’s Edible Book Festival was a huge success. The center was full of supporters and friends of all ages participating in the cake judging, the raffle table and even in the studio with the letterpress! 

The set up for the event started early on Saturday as our team here worked to make the store spacious enough to not only display the edible book contenders, but to be able to make it easy for all the guests to get around. 

The calm before the storm
Edible Book Contestants setting up their book craft before the event

There were 28 Edible book entries in total, 19 for the Adult category and 9 in the Youth category. There was so much variety ranging from the Great Gatsby to Fahrenheit 451 to A Pickle of Ice and Fire. 

A Pickle of Ice and Fire by Gina Maria Klienmartin

But other than the Edible book contest, there were more activities going on at WNYBAC. Our Guests were purchasing raffle tickets to win one of the many prizes being offered, such as exclusive tickets to shows playing at Shea’s and The Irish Classical Theater, a free one-hour massage at Therapeutically Well, and so much more.

In the studio, guests could make their own edible book letterpress card as well as learn a few things about printing. And also located in the studio, was a make your own “Sploosh” (salsa) station inspired by the book Holes by Louis Sachar, and a button making station inspired by the event itself.

The Studio activities at the Edible Book Festival

At the end of the night, the winners were drawn and everyone gathered to hear the results. The awards were graciously sponsored by multiple local Buffalo businesses. The most book-like awards, sponsored by Valu Home Center and Quality Bindery, were awarded to Fahrenheit 451 by Ciah and Stephanie Courtney and Bibliophyllo by Donna Stepien. The best presentation awards, sponsored by PIA and Explore Buffalo, were given to Warriors by Erdene Dominguez and The Great Gatsby by Lara Martini. One of the new categories, Funniest and Punniest, sponsored by Telesco Creative Group and The Brewroom, was awarded to Dead Seaweed Scrolls by Galvan Kleinmartin and The Long Quiche Goodnight by Toulon O’Connor. The Best Tasting awards, sponsored by Fat Bob’s Smokehouse and JJ’s Casa di Pizza, went to Lion Witch and the Wardrobe by Ava Courtney and Sing Bird by Tyler Stover. Last, but not least is the Peoples Choice award presented by M&T Bank. This year, it was awarded to Don’t Let the Pigeon Eat the Bus by Nella Darrell-Sterbak.

All the winners of the night!

Soon after the awards were given, everyone started to dig in to the edible books. We found some of the entries were a mix of vanilla and chocolate cake, one was very minty, another was very pickly, and one entry was entirely made of Cheerios!

As the food was eaten up, the crowd began to reduce and just like that, another Edible Book Festival had come to an end. It was a good event and we are definitely excited to see what Edible Books we will get to exhibit next year!