Save 30% on CALF passes by registering before May 15

Cultural Affairs

April 1, 2024
Staff Reports

Get ready to have a “purrfectly unicorn-y” time with Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn and friends at the 12th Children’s Art + Literacy Festival (CALF) from June 13-16 featuring the books of award-winning illustrator LeUyen Pham, whose original artwork will be on exhibit this summer at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL). The CALF theme is inspired by the artist on exhibit each summer at the museum.

The Abilene Cultural Affairs Council will unveil the newest addition to the Storybook Sculpture Project based on LeUyen and Shannon Hale’s Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn book series, which brings our collection to 40 sculptures, the largest collection of its kind in the nation!

The Cultural Affairs Council plans the festival with the help of art organizations, generous sponsors, and hundreds of volunteers.

More than 5,800 people from 190 cities, 21 states and Mexico attended last year’s CALF. Toss your mane, brandish your kitten ears and trot over to the Abilene Cultural District for four days of fun!

The festival will kick off Thursday, June 13 with Group Day for day cares and summer camps. Nearly 800 children can attend Group Day who might otherwise not be able to come to the festival thanks to our generous sponsors.

The festival opens to the public Thursday afternoon with a costume contest, Storybook Parade with a new route along Pine Street, and unveiling of our new Storybook Sculpture. LeUyen and her family will be joining the festivities in Abilene. Thursday night, see the artist in action at the Paramount Theatre and draw along with him during the free “Sketch with LeUyen” event followed by a book signing.

A festival pass is required to attend Friday and Saturday events, which include dramatic readings of LeUyen’s most popular books at six venues with art activities and costume characters, ventriloquist Nancy Burks Worcester, Le Marionette Theater of Dallas, Kornpop the clown’s balloon show, train rides, Abilene Philharmonic Instrument Petting Zoo, May Farm Petting Zoo and more! For an extra fee, families can see world-class illusionist Jason Bishop perform Friday ad Saturday nights at the Paramount Theatre.

Children collect CALF buttons for their festival lanyards as they complete each activity. Wear your CALF pass on Sunday, and you can enter the zoo for free and experience more CALF with book readings and animal encounters.

Register for CALF at Thursday events are free. Passes for Friday and Saturday are $9 for children 3-12 (2 and under are free) and $14 for ages 13 and up through May 15. After that date, passes are $12 for children and $17 for ages 13 and up.

The Texas Legislature declared Abilene the official Storybook Capital of Texas in 2015, and in 2018, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office approved Abilene to trademark and exclusively use the term “Storybook Capital of America®.”

CALF started in 2012 and is a program of the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, an affiliate of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce dedicated to promoting cultural tourism.

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