Where can you see literary giant Ray Bradbury, hear a reading by the John Steinbeck of Oildale, Gerald Haslam, and meet impressionist painter and children's book illustrator Gita Lloyd -- all in the same room?

Only in Bakersfield. Only at The Bakersfield Californian Festival of Books happening Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cal State Bakersfield gym.

"What better way to celebrate reading than to bring so many great authors together at one location," said Donna Hylton, executive director of the Kern Adult Literacy Council and an organizer of the event.

Hylton is jazzed about the second-annual festival, partly because its stellar lineup is attracting attention and ticket sales from other areas of California and beyond.

Patterned after the popular Los Angeles Times-sponsored Festival of Books, Saturday's event is an acknowledgement that without books, without the joy and education reading provides, no community can reach its full potential.

"You need to read to succeed," Hylton said. "If you can't read, you will have a substandard quality of life."

The festival will include attractions for adults and children, including entertainment, food concessions, a celebrity reading tent and roaming costumed characters.

Authors and artists attending include:

* Ray Bradbury, acclaimed author of "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles."

* Gerald Haslam, author of numerous books including "Workin' Man Blues: Country Music in California" and "Coming of Age in California."

* David Schwartz, author of several children's books including "How Much is a Million?" and "If you Hopped Like a Frog."

* Angela Giaand Karlene Copenhaver, illustrator and designer of "Freight Train Running: A Biography of Buck Owens."

* Rick Van Horne, local author of "Friday Night Heroes: 100 Years of Driller Football."

* Gita Loyd, illustrator of several books for young readers, including "Clifford the Big Red Dog."

How to go

• Tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for seniors and students; $5 for children.

• Advance tickets available at Russo’s Books; Kern Adult Literacy Council at 331 18th St., or online at www.kernalc.org. Tickets also are available at the door. Parking is free in parking lot E near the south side of the campus.

• The first 500 attendees will receive a free book. Doors open at 9:30 a.m.

• Sponsors/contributors: The Californian; Cal State Bakersfield; Bakersfield’s bookstores; AERA Energy; Borton Petrini and Conron LLP.

Questions? Call the literacy council at 324-3213.

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