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Hundreds attend first day of annual BSO Book Fair

Local NewsHundreds attend first day of annual BSO Book Fair

Several hundred book lovers attended the opening day of the Brantford Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) annual book fair fundraiser held on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.

The book fair has been up and running since 1964 and the committee has become the largest contributor of funds for the BSO to operate and put on shows. The money raised from this four-day event will help contribute to upcoming concerts like Classical Sax and Strings.

Before the event even started, well over 200 people eagerly lined up to enter the old City Hall building, and as the doors opened, bookworms quickly spread out to discover the treasures that awaited them.

A line up of nearly 200 bookworms snakes around Brantford’s old City Hall for the opening day of the BSO Book Fair on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.

With nearly 25 rooms spread between both the ground and lower level of the building, customers of all ages traveled from section to section, combing through the various books to see what they could find.

Patrons came prepared with lists, reusable grocery bags and even suitcases as they jumped at the chance to expand their collections. With thousands of books, crafts, CDs, DVDs, puzzles and more to search through, shoppers had their hands, boxes and bags filled to the brim.

While many picked up a variety of genres, others were there to collect books on specific topics such as sewing and knitting, cooking and gardening, religion and history, poetry and more.

One shopper browses one of the many religion sections during the opening day of the BSO Book Fair on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.

A few tried to find secluded areas to sort through their finds, double check their lists, or to convince themselves to not take everything else home with them.

Beth Fletcher, a Kitchener resident, was one of the many customers experiencing the book fair for the first time and the out-of-town visitor was just barely able to hold her three bags (filled with nearly 50 books) as she waited in line to cash out.

Resting her loot on the ground for the time being, she said that she was impressed with the big event.

“I’m loving it so far, I’ve been specifically trying to grab sci-fi and children’s books and I found quite a bit,” she chuckled. “It was a little cramped with everyone in here, but I really liked how they organized everything in different rooms so it kind of made it easy to find.”

Guests search through a large section of fiction books during the opening day of the BSO Book Fair on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.

With book prices starting at one dollar, friends and families could be overheard asking each other how much their total came to and talking about the great deals they found as they headed out the door.

For Prakhar Garg and Amber Goyit, the two traveled in from Hamilton for the long-awaited event. Goyit, who is originally from Brantford, said she’d been attending the sale every year for at least a decade.

“We were really looking for everything today; fiction, non-fiction, just all of it,” she laughed.” I think I spent a good $104 today and I got a pretty good large box for that, so I’m happy.”

Prakhar Garg and Amber Goyit, pose for a photo with their haul of books during the opening day of the BSO Book Fair on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.

While she said that she’s a fan of all formats of books, audio and digital included, Garg said that for him, reading physical books is something he tends to prefer over any other option.

“One, it’s easier on the eyes and you get away from that blue-light,” he said. “Two, it’s just more tactile for me, I like to put tabs in my books so it’s nice to be able to physically flip through and see what caught my attention.”

While the two initially thought they had purchased everything they wanted for the day, they ended up going back in for one more round of browsing before heading out, a self-proclaimed “desert.”

Several customers peruse for CD’s during the opening day of the BSO Book Fair on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.

Penny MacKenzie, a BSO book fair committee member, said that with all of the committee’s hard work, and only four weeks to do it, it was all worth it to see so many people who are still so passionate about books. 

“It’s been wonderful, I’m really pleased to see that so many people are still interested in reading,” said McKenzie.

A shopper checks out the selection of poetry books during the opening day of the BSO Book Fair on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.

She said that in just the first two hours alone, she had easily seen around 500 people come through the doors.

“You know, people love this book fair so much because not only is it supporting a wonderful cause, but because the books are just so reasonably priced,” she said. “In a regular book store, the books can go for $45, and while they can always still go to a library, here they can take home 15-plus books for the same amount and that’s just a wonderful thing.”

For those who missed the opening day, the event will continue until April 27 at the old City Hall building in Brantford. During the sale, shoppers can drop by anytime from 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on, Thursday and Friday, and on Saturday, April 27 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Book fair volunteers work diligently to keep the check out lines moving smoothly during the opening day of the BSO Book Fair on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.

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