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June East Bay Event Showdown

It’s bookworms versus cowboys at these two local events: Bay Area Book Festival and the Livermore Rodeo.


Think you’re a bookworm, or reckon yourself a cowpoke at heart? This month, two beloved East Bay events will once again vie for your attention: the Bay Area Book Festival in downtown Berkeley and the Livermore Rodeo. Here’s our event breakdown to help you decide which one is right for you.


Bay Area Book Festival

June 3–4 • baybookfest.org

WEAR: Nothing says well-read like some good Birkenstocks and a pair of stylish reading glasses. (The thicker the frame, the better.)

SEE: Catch Berkeley’s Ayelet Waldman as she discusses her new The New York Times best-selling memoir, A Really Good Day; or grab a seat for an exclusive talk with literary powerhouse Roxane Gay.

EAT: With 15 food trucks and vendors, it’s an extravaganza of global foods: Indian and Thai, empanadas and açai bowls, chicken skewers and falafel, and plenty of vegan and vegetarian options.

DO: Meet hundreds of authors from around the world. Snap a selfie with your biggest literary idols—and get an autograph while you’re at it. Visit the carnival at Civic Center Park for arts and crafts, storytelling, magic shows, and more.

BUY: Books, books, and more books. Hundreds of exhibitors take over downtown Berkeley, ready to help you start (or stock) your library.


Livermore Rodeo

June 10–11 • livermorerodeo.com

WEAR: Show off your country pride—cowboy boots, a 10-gallon hat—and don’t forget the oversized belt buckle.

SEE: Stop by downtown Livermore for the kickoff parade; watch cowboys and cowgirls do their thing in steer wrestling, tie-down roping, bull riding, and more.

EAT: It’s all-American fare at the rodeo—BBQ, hot dogs, burgers, Wente wine, and plenty of beer. What more could you ask for?

DO: Join in the fun. Go for a ride on the mechanical bull, or grab a partner for the adults-only hoedown at the Buckin’ A Saloon after party on June 10.

BUY: Bring home some of the rodeo spirit from vendors hawking all sorts of goods: cowboy hats and boots, novelty signs and shirts, and much more.

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