New York Times best-selling author Carl Hiaasen will be the featured guest at Columbia County’s fourth annual Books Alive celebration this weekend.
Hiaasen, a former Miami Herald reporter, has written books for adults and children. His young-adult and children’s books include Flush, Scat, Chomp and Hoot, which was turned into a movie.
His adult novel, Skinny Dip, was the inspiration behind the 1996 film Striptease, which features Demi Moore and Burt Reynolds.
The free event is scheduled from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday at Evans Towne Center Park.
The event formerly had been held at the Columbia County Amphitheater behind the Evans library, but county libraries manager Mary Lin Maner said they needed a larger venue to accommodate such a popular author.
“We actually tried to get Carl three years ago,” said Maner. “When they built the new park, I said, ‘OK, it’s time to try Carl one more time,’ So we’re very excited to have him.”
Family-friendly activities are scheduled throughout the day, beginning with a sidewalk chalk contest and scavenger hunt for teens until 5 p.m. A laser light show will end the event at 9:15 p.m.
Hiaasen will talk to young adults at 4 p.m. and sign books for teens at 5 p.m.
Other family activities include a live animal display by Okefenokee Joe at 11 a.m., a butterfly release at 12:30 p.m., story time from 1-3 p.m., Reed Creek Nature Park presentations at 1:30 and 2 p.m. as well as an owl demonstration at 3 p.m.
For adults, a local author event at the gazebo will be held from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
At 5:30 p.m., The Unmentionables will perform, followed by a presentation by Hiaasen for adults.
He’ll also hold a book signing at 8:30 p.m.
A VIP reception underneath a tent will go on from 5:30-7 p.m., when Hiaasen will meet with guests who can snack on hors d’oeurves and order from an open bar. Food will be catered by French Market Grille West.
“It’s going to be a fun-filled day with lots of things to do,” Maner said.
Columbia County Community Events Specialist Virginia Atkins said several food, arts and craft vendors will be at the event.
The laser light show will be put on by Lightwave International, which handles concerts for stars such as Madonna and Kanye West, Atkins said.
“It’ll be about 20 to 25 minutes of lasers going through the air,” she said.
“The whole crowd will just be engulfed in this huge light show. It’s something that Columbia County has never seen before.”
For more, visit www.columbiacountyreads