The Annual Mark Twain Book Fair is September 4 - September 7. Daily from 9am to 5pm. Redding Community Center, Lonetown Road (Route 107) Redding CT. Free parking, no admission fee (early buying Friday 9am-10am $10 fee), bargains abound, air-conditioned comfort, handicapped accessible, refreshments sold.
This is "officially" the 49th Annual Fair but the fund raising concept of the fair dates way back to the very beginnning. Coley Taylor described the early days of the fair in his recollections published by American Heritage in 1985 "Our Neighbor, Mark Twain":
"Mark Twain donated a large number of books from his own collection to the library. They were housed in the seldom used old chapel facing the ancient but still used Umpawaug Cemetery. A librarian was on hand Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. Twain secured donations from many friends, including Andrew Carnegie, and publishers. At a meeting to promote the library on October 7, 1908, he read a statement that he had composed for the occasion.
There was a woman's group that met fairly often to sew clean strips of rags of all colors and fabrics for making braided rugs to sell at an annual fair for the library building fund. We children went to the meetings too; there were no baby-sitters then; we could roll the long strips into balls. It was my job to turn the ice-cream freezer for the cake-and-ice cream binge later.
The annual fair was held in August to attract the summer people, who would leave for their homes by Labor Day. There were not many in Redding but the lake resorts near Danbury and a noted summer colony in nearby Ridgefield provided the necessary crowds, together with local residents. All kinds of things were sold at the fair: cakes, pies, jellies, pickles, canned fruits in glass jars, salads, the rag rugs, and second hand furniture, which was grabbed up as antiques. A long picnic table under a tent was loaded with food, provided luncheon for the guests- at a price, of course."
The following weekend is the 58th Annual Redding Antique Car Show at Lonetown Farm.