JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The fifth annual celebration of literacy is just days away.
More than 150 writers, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, will join thousands of book lovers at the State Capitol Saturday for the Mississippi Book Festival.
"This is a way we can provide a spotlight on what we do really well," said Mississippi Book Festival Executive Director Holly Lange.
Organizers report a record crowd of 7,600 people converged on the Capitol last year for the festival.
The gathering for avid readers attracts people from around the world for the “literary lawn party.”
Lange and her team are in the final stages of preps.
For the third time during the festival’s history, construction is going on at the Capitol.
“Fortunately it’s not really in play. Our authors alley tends end there,” said Lange. “That’s some foot traffic we have expected back and forth but we have barricades, and we have worked very closely with the state Capitol contractors to make sure that nobody is at risk in that area."
New concrete and dirt surround the Capitol Building, where sidewalks are being reconstructed to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.
“We’re doing a pedestrian improvement on our sidewalks, and then we’re also including more handicap accessible corners,” said Office of Capitol Facilities Director Roe Grubs. “Then we’re replacing our steps and giving them more proper ratio for set rise ratios. And we’re putting in granite like we do around the Capitol. This is phase one of several projects we’re doing on the property.”
The festival runs Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We do a lot of things in 24 hours here at the State Capitol that encourages literacy,” added Lange. “It encourages reading. It encourages writing, and it also makes the state look really good.”
This phase of construction should be completed by the end of December.