Rocky Mountain Book and Paper Fair returns in 2021

A relic of the pre-COVID era is being resurrected in Colorado Springs Aug. 6-7:  A live, in-person, things-you-can-touch-and-feel-and-smell book fair.

The Rocky Mountain Book and Paper Fair, which had run for 35 years straight before the pandemic, will be staged for the first time outside of Denver, and marks the first book fair west of the Mississippi since 2019. Its former home, the Denver Mart, shut down in March. This new edition will feature 60-some booksellers from as far west as Oregon and as far east as Pennsylvania, according to fair organizer Carol Mobley. All are as eager to meet bibliophiles as they are to graduate from the virtual bookfairs that sprung up last year.

A live fair is welcome news to booksellers, according to Richard Chant, past president of the sponsoring Rocky Mountain Antiquarian Booksellers Association and owner of Abacus Books in Longmont.

“Although the virtual fairs were of great benefit to book dealers during a time of social distancing, the experience for the buyer was as different as looking at photos of Paris and actually going there,” Chant said.

“A real book fair has an atmosphere and quality that cannot be recreated virtually. It is an event in which you participate rather than view. It engages the senses and emotions. Sights and sounds, camaraderie, anticipation, hope, triumph.”

Doors open Friday, Aug. 6, at 2 p.m. The show runs Friday until 7 p.m., then is open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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