Fifty tons of books each year. Fifty years of commitment to the community, the Dayton Book Fair celebrates its return this weekend, November 12th through November 15th, after a year dark due to the pandemic. All week the Montgomery County Fairgrounds is a hive of activity as an army of volunteer workers unpack more than 2000 cartons of books, making sure each book is in its proper place in one of 90 categories.
On Friday morning, the doors will open at 9 am on a landscape of books, puzzles, CDs, vinyl records, board games, and art. Admission on Friday is $10. Most books are unit priced ($1-$2 per book) with a special section set aside for collectibles.
Hours on Friday are 9 to 7. Saturday and Sunday the sale runs from 9 to 5, and admission is free. Sunday is “bag day”— everything you can fit in a bag for $7.50, and on Monday—they will again offer their renowned “Clean Sweep”—from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., pay just a dollar to get in and take away as much as you want.
The sale is Ohio’s largest of second-hand books, all of which come from donations made during the year. Each year the sale benefits three different local nonprofits, and this year’s beneficiaries are the Dayton International Peace Museum, the Xenia Area Community Theatre, and Community Voices, a project of WYSO public radio.
The Dayton Book Fair has provided grants to 20 different organizations, raising more than two million dollars over the last fifty years. “It is entirely a volunteer effort,” said the Book Fair Foundation’s executive director, Larkin Vonalt. “We are staffed all year long by a tireless group that makes all of this possible, collecting, sorting, and pricing books. This could not happen without their efforts and we can never thank them enough.”
“The mission of the Book Fair Foundation is to keep books in the hands of readers and to that end, they provide books to other organizations, fund grants to other community organizations, and serve as a meaningful place where people can donate their books,” Vonalt said. The organization will pick up large donations, or any size donation from people who are unable to bring their books to the Foundation office at 2181 Embury Park Road. For more information, see their website at www.daytonbookfair.com. `