VCBF Gala is Friday

Published 10:16 am Monday, July 12, 2021

The flashbulbs will pop as Farmville’s most glamorous step into the spotlight at the first Virginia Children’s Book Festival Gala this July 16.

The Gala, with the theme “We Are Not The MET,” will include all the glitz and glam of the famous New York event but with a local flair and children’s book theme that will create lasting memories.

“The Virginia Children’s Book Festival may not be the MET Gala, but it’s the event of the year for thousands of Virginia’s children,” festival director Juanita Giles said. “Each year we welcome more and more children to the fall festival, where they are not only inspired by some of their favorite authors and illustrators but also discover new favorites who inspire them to create their own stories. We also work throughout the year here in the community to distribute books and foster a love of reading to everyone we can. We couldn’t do any of this without the support of this community, and now we are going to celebrate with those same supporters.”

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Like the MET Gala, festival organizers are encouraging attendees to wear avant garde clothing to the VCBF Gala–anything unexpected or interesting that shows creativity.

“Our authors and illustrators draw on so much creativity, and we really see that rubbing off on the kids as they come to the festival,” Giles said. “So we decided to make that a theme and hope that people have a lot of fun with their outfits at the Gala.”

The Summer Gala will be held at Longwood University’s Radcliff Hall from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 16.

Two VCBF favorite authors, Jay Cooper (“Bots, The Spy Next Door”) and Pablo Cartaya (“Each Tiny Spark,” “Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish”) are traveling from New York and Miami to host the gala and will be on hand to mingle with guests and enjoy the festivities. Each of the authors has presented in-person at the VCBF several times.

Tickets are still on sale at Individual tickets are $75, and VIP tickets are $200, which includes early access, and time with the author hosts.

The VCBF Gala will feature:

  • Live music from Shades of Gray, who play danceable hits and covers that will be sure to get you out on the dance floor and moving
  • Broadway costumes on display straight from New York shows–designed by legendary artists like Bob Mackie and and worn by Jane Lynch as Miss Hannigan in “Annie.”
  • Art auction featuring one-of-a-kind original works by VCBF illustrators, from Caldecott winning artists Sophie Blackall and John Parra to beloved illustrators Marc Brown (Arthur) and Victoria Kann (Pinkalicious). The online auction can be found at or you can bid in-person at the gala.
  • A special VCBF-inspired menu and three bars to serve everyone

Anyone with questions about the Gala or how to bid on an original artwork (or need some outfit ideas), email