Books in Bloom, the region’s largest progressive book and literary festival, returns to Downtown Columbia for its seventh year on May 13. Presented by The Downtown Columbia Partnership along with The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC), the festival celebrates the joy of books and meaningful dialogue all rooted in the spirit of Downtown Columbia’s diverse and forward-thinking community. This year’s festival will focus on building community through empathy and understanding by highlighting activism through literature, open dialogue, freedom of speech and banned books.The festival will build upon the ‘banned books’ theme while exploring themes of race, gender, diversity and freedom of expression and showcasing the important roles libraries play in our communities as educational centers and civic institutions. In addition to an incredible lineup of authors and speakers, attendees will enjoy a wide range of interactive family-friendly fun including a pop-up bookstore, a kid’s corner with crafts and activities, local food and drink specials, and more.

Past festivals have featured appearances from the country’s best and brightest minds including Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Carl Bernstein, 1619 Project creator and Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper, New York Times bestselling author Robin DiAngelo, and award-winning chef, global humanitarian and best-selling author José Andrés, among others. This year’s featured authors and additional event details to be announced in the coming weeks.

WHO: Presented by the Howard Hughes Corporation and the Downtown Columbia Partnership

WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2023, 11 AM to 5 PM

WHY: Books in Bloom, a regional arts and culture festival put on by the Downtown Columbia Partnership and The Howard Hughes Corporation, was established in 2017 to commemorate Columbia’s 50th anniversary. The festival has since become a celebrated tradition and a highlight of Downtown Columbia’s evolution and dynamic programming, which features more than 100 events a year. With the mission of fulfilling James Rouse’s vision for Columbia as a vibrant and diverse “garden for growing people,” the city’s investment in arts and culture seeks to strengthen connections throughout the community and solidify its position as the third city in the Baltimore/DC corridor.

WHERE: Color Burst Park, 6000 Merriweather Dr, Columbia, MD 21044

Symphony Woods Garage provides ample parking for Books in Bloom. District. For directions and more information, click here.

HOW: The festival and all associated programming are FREE and open to the public. For more information, author announcements, and final event schedule, please follow on Instagram @merriweatherdistrict and visit

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