The annual Children's Arts and Literacy Festival aka The CALF, returns to Abilene and will feature children's illustrator and author Loren Long. Unlike last year where the CALF was spread out over most of 2020 due to the coronavirus and limited socializing. This year's event will be like old times. The CALF will run June 10th, 11th and 12th.

One of the CALF organizers Sidney Levesque says "the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival is back on track this summer with safety measures in place such as required face masks and enhanced cleaning." Levesque says that "there will be trucks, tractors and bats of all kinds taking the stage and bringing to life a variety of books by the best-selling illustrator and author Loren Long.

As with previous CALF festivals (prior to the pandemic) the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council will transform downtown Abilene into a storybook adventure, featuring costumed characters, dramatic readings and performers at 17 different venues.

Lynn Barnett, the Council’s Executive Director said "postponing last year’s CALF was one of the hardest decisions the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council has had to make." She says "it was the right thing to do given that most major events across the state and U.S. were canceled due to safety concerns with the pandemic.

Plus “We missed seeing all the families downtown wearing their CALF shirts and taking photos with our costumed characters,” Barnett said. “But it was more important to keep everyone safe. We’re thrilled to be able to host the festival this year.”
Source: Cultural Affairs Council

The festival begins Thursday, June 10 around 6 pm, with a Loren Long character costume contest followed by a Storybook Parade downtown (usual parade route), the unveiling of two bronze sculptures one of Otis the tractor and the second of his calf friend. Follow that with an artist talk and book signing.

Long will be in Abilene for the opening events and his art exhibition at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. Then on Friday and Saturday, you can choose from several events scattered throughout downtown Abilene.

As with previous festivals kids can collect keepsake buttons for their CALF lanyards as they complete activities every day. The activities will include readings of Long’s books, train rides, the musical instrument petting zoo, a magician, a balloon sculptor and this year the you can 'Touch a Truck' event where children can explore and touch a several different trucks.

Purchase your tickets online at Registration is open and passes are just  $11 for children ages 3 to 12 (2 and under are free) and $16 for ages 13 and up. This event promises lots of fun as you'll see in the above video of what's to come and the video below tells all about the CALF.

Lynn Barnett says "the Children's Arts and Literacy Festival is presented by the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, an affiliate of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce and we are committed to preserving and promoting the arts and enriching lives in Abilene."

For more information and a complete schedule of the events, visit or call 325-677-1161.

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