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Source:  Write Out Loud

Photo credit:  Ron Logan

Hear our interview with Victor Crosswaite Contreras on Twainfest and BonitaFest events to commemorate San Diego's 250th birthday

July 30, 2019 (San Diego) - Write Out Loud, an organization founded in 2007 with a commitment to inspire, challenge and entertain by reading literature aloud for a live audience  - announces the 10th Anniversary of their Annual TwainFest to take place on Saturday, August 17th from 11am - 5:00pm in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, San Diego in conjunction with San Diego's 250th birthday celebration. TwainFest is produced by Write Out Loud and sponsored by Fiesta de Reyes in association with Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

TwainFest, now a tradition for many San Diego families, is an all day FREE festival celebrating Mark Twain and the literature and culture of 19th Century America. There is something for everyone at this festive old-fashioned gathering at the park.  Presentations occur at a variety of park venues throughout the day.

Write Out Loud Artistic Director Veronica Murphy, shared “It is wonderful to be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Twainfest with our community! Each year, Twainfest provides a beautiful day to connect with literature and with people of all ages. We really love that families can come and spend a day away from their electronic devices to have a tactile experience engaging with the literature, history and the culture of the 19th century.” 

Returning Festival Favorites:


  • The Authors Salon provides the opportunity to meet Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens, Helen Hunt Jackson, and other beloved writers of the period. 
  • Giant puppets of Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Edgar Allan Poe will wander the green.
  • Local San Diego performers present 19th Century stories and poems by Mark Twain, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Eugene Field, Lewis Carroll and many more, at venues throughout the park.
  • An arcade of unique literary games and activities designed especially for TwainFest will entertain players of all ages on the green. The Twainfest Cakewalk - Walk the circle and land on a 19th Century author. If your author’s name is called - you win the cake! Tom Sawyer’s Fence Painting  - Tom Sawyer, Aunt Polly and Becky Thatcher seek out children at the park. Working together, they find things to trade with Tom for permission to help him whitewash the fence! These along with Jim Hawkins Treasure Hunt and Wheel of Fiction are just a few activities that join sack races, ring toss and other games of the period to assure a fun-filled yet educational day. 
  • The Armory Band recreates the only band that played for both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, providing patriot music of the time played on vintage instruments.
  • Civil War Field Encampment, complete with soldiers and nurses, provides classes for all ages in fife and drum and artillery.  
  • Descendants of Early San Diego provide stories of historical figures of our community
  • A backdrop of 19th Century music enlivens the day’s activities.  
  • Free books are provided at the Book Emporium to all who participate in 5 or more activities.


New To TwainFest for 2019:


  • Mad Hatter's Tea Party - immerse yourself in an interactive event with The Mad Hatter, Alice, White Rabbit & Door Mouse as you explore the world of Lewis Carroll
  • All New Literary Programming - our 19th century literature and poetry is completely revamped this year - and guests will have the opportunity to listen to local performers share great stories at venues across the park!

Cast Includes:

Pamela Brittain, Abby Despain, Cynthia Gerber, Will Harris, Katrina Heil, Steven Lone, Brian Mackey, Eric Minella, Julia Schalz, Connie Terwilliger, Travis Wilson and Catalina Zelles

Musicians include: Mark Danisovzsky, Danny Barber, Leland Collins and special guest Irish Uilleann Pipe Player, Sean O’Casaide and others

Write Out Loud serves over 23,000 people annually with their core programs: In addition to Twainfest, Write Out Loud presents a six show season of Story Concerts, Voices of Ireland each March, PoeFest - a celebration of Edgar Allan Poe each October, StoryBox Theatre (kamishibai) for elementary students, Poetry Out Loud for high school students, Ripples From Walden Pond - a one-man play about Henry David Thoreau, Stories for Seniors and they oversee The NEA Big Read in San Diego.



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