JACKSON – Chairs, desks, filing cabinets and other office items are stacked up in the halls and the sound of electrical tools can be heard throughout the massive and ornate Mississippi Capitol.

Despite the replacing of carpet, restoring original flooring in some areas and the closure of the northern entrance to the building for renovations, the Capitol will be the site of the third annual Mississippi Book Festival from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday.

“All work will halt in time to get ready for the Book Festival,” said Brenda Davis, Capitol curator. “We have welcomed the Book Festival in the past, and we are looking forward to it this year.”

Davis said she recently was meeting with Holly Lange, executive director of the Book Festival, to prepare for the event, and “she said, ‘I think people would be pleased to know that the building is being properly maintained.”

The Capitol recently was designated as a National Historical Landmark by the National Park Service.

The Capitol and adjacent Galloway United Methodist Church will be the site of the day-long series of seminars and presentations by more than 220 authors. Last year, the second for the event, more than 6,200 people attend the Book Festival, which is free and open to the public.

The authors making presentations include nationally acclaimed Mississippians, such as popular novelist Greg Iles of Natchez, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Richard Ford of Jackson and journalist Curtis Wilkie, who now teaches at the University of Mississippi.

“It’s a book lover’s dream to meet authors face to face, and hear the stories behind the stories,” Lange said in a prepared statement. “It’s a chance, too, to rub shoulders with fellow readers, pick up some books and get insights into Mississippi’s greatest cultural legacy.”

The event will open with a presentation by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in the Old Supreme Court Room in the Capitol. That presentation and a few of the other ones, such as one on U.S. presidents, will be carried on national cable network C-SPAN.

There will be activities for children, music on the grounds, food trucks and tours of the Capitol on Saturday. For more information on the festival, visit www.msbookfestival.com.

bobby.harrison@journalinc.com Twitter: @bobbyharrison9

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