Dan Dabney walked into the commercial exhibit building at the Monroe County Fairgrounds with any empty tote bag slung over his shoulder and a black and gold baseball cap on his head.
At first, his hat seemed to be a popular hat worn by Americans since the 2016 election season, but as he walked closer to others in the building, they could read the words more clearly.
"Make reading great again."
Dabney was looking for something new to read among the 100,000 books, movies, CDs, records and old yearbooks at the 34th Annual Hoosier Hills Food Bank Book Fair. Profits from the book fair go for Hoosier Hills Food Bank, which serves Bloomington and other nearby towns.
The fair will stay at the fairgrounds every day from Oct. 5-10. Julio Alonso, executive director at Hoosier Hills Food Bank, said the book fair will have special offers each day.
Each day has a different theme and has events, guests and specials based on the theme, including Cooking and Crafts Day on Oct. 6, where the first 100 attendees will receive a free cookbook. Friends and Family Day on Oct. 7 includes a free book for the first 100 people, activities for children and visits from local authors.
Monroe County fire departments will be there Oct. 8 for Heroes Day where they will be teaching children about fire safety for Fire Prevention Week and Bloomington Animal Shelter will be bringing adoptable pets.
The last two days of the fair offer deals including half-priced day where books will be half-off their regular price from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 9, and Oct. 10 is fill-a-bag day where people can fill a bag with as many items as possible for $5.
The food bank spends every day of the year preparing for the annual book fair, and Alonso said it has already started preparing for next year’s book fair by collecting books, many of which come from individual donations. The book fair is Hoosier Hills Food Bank’s second most profitable fundraiser behind the Soup Bowl Benefit every February.
Alonso said he is hoping to raise more money than they have in the past.
“Last year we raised about $75,000 and about $45,000 of that was profit that went directly to the food bank,” Alonso said. “This year we do not have an exact number goal we’re trying to reach, but we know we’re hoping to make more money than in the past.”