This year's Hoosier Hills Food Bank Book Fair will take over 2 buildings at the fairgrounds – The Herald-Times

After a year off and lots of people purging items from their homes, this year’s Hoosier Hills Food Bank Book Fair will be bigger than ever.
In order to accommodate the larger selection of books and media, the book fair — running Thursday through Tuesday — will be in both of the commercial buildings at the Monroe County Fairgrounds southwest of Bloomington.
“It gives us more of an opportunity to allow for social distancing as well,” said Julio Alonso, executive director of the food bank. 
The book fair, which began 38 years ago as a fundraiser for the local Red Cross, will have longer hours this year as well. That will allow more time for people to peruse the impressive array of books, games, puzzles, CDs, LPs, DVDs and audio books.
“We received a huge donation of almost pristine history and biology books,” Alonso said. 
The books include international and U.S. history books that were donated by one person who was cleaning out their personal library. There will be “thousands and thousands” of history books for sale this year, which is why that section will be twice the size it was last year, Alonso said. A large selection of sports trading cards and Indiana University sports memorabilia also will be available for people to sort through.
Alonso promises a section of “great hardback fiction books,” as well twice the number of puzzles and games. The usual “better books” area with rare, collectible and signed books will be well stocked.
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Besides books and media, the book fair will have events each day with food trucks just outside the buildings.
Thursday is opening day and will be Veterans Appreciation Day. Admission will be $10 for everyone except veterans, who get in free of charge. The Monroe County Veterans Service Office will be available for consultations.
All other days have free admission. On Saturday, people can make their own tie-dye shirt. White T-shirts will be for sale for $10 or people can bring their own. There will be several stations set up at the fair for people to use.
On Sunday, Charlie Bird, Bloomington’s well-known green-winged macaw, and his companion JoJo will promote sales of “Charlie Bird Loves Bloomington,” with book sales benefitting Charlie’s medical care. Sunday will be half-price day, as well as Heroes Day, with county firefighters and first responders and their vehicles at the fairgrounds. 
Monday is $10 Bag Day, with Better Books Bags costing $20, with a one-bag limit.
Tuesday is $5 Bag Day.
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“This is actually our second largest fundraiser (for the food bank),” Alonso said.
Normally, the annual book fair raises between $75,000 and $80,000, he said, explaining that includes some online sales and sponsorships. This year Alonso is hopeful the total will be higher. Last year the in-person event was canceled because of the coronavirus, and a small online sale was offered instead.
The book fair is a huge undertaking for the food bank, with three staff and numerous volunteers helping. Hours are spent cleaning, sorting and categorizing every item in advance of the sale. 
Because of the man-hours involved, Alonso asks people who want to donate books or other items to wait until this year’s event is complete.
“We do accept book donations year-round,” he said. “But we would prefer people wait until after the book fair. We stopped sorting a month ago or so.”
People attending the book fair can find their way through the two buildings using a map that will be available. Shoppers can earn a $1 off coupon by bringing a nonperishable food donation for the food bank.
WHAT: Hoosier Hills Food Bank Book Fair.
WHEN:
WHERE: Commercial buildings at the Monroe County Fairgrounds, 5700 W. Airport Road.
HEALTH MEASURES: The wearing of face masks will be required indoors. Masks, gloves and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the two buildings. Book display tables will be set farther apart and social distancing will be recommended. The number of people allowed in the buildings may be limited at times if crowding becomes a concern.
MORE: Information can be found at hhfoodbank.org.
Contact Carol Kugler at [email protected], 812-331-4359 or @ckugler on Twitter.

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