Capital BookFest was founded six years ago by publisher and poet Kwame Alexander. But this year was the first time it branched out from the nation’s capital, making stops here in Charleston and in Harrisburg, Pa. In its inaugural visit, BookFest drew a huge crowd to the free, one-day events it hosted around town.

Between 4,000 and 5,000 literary fans, ranging from children to grandparents, attended the first BookFest in Charleston, taking part in readings, panel discussions and writing workshops by national and local authors, plus a Kids Zone with storytellers, kid’s activities, and prizes.

Alexander said in a release, “I am completely moved and inspired by the strong turnout we received in the Lowcountry … Certainly, we love to see packed rooms, as we did when Nikki Giovanni spoke or when Mary Alice Monroe talked about her novels, but ultimately it was the response from the young people that was the most significant.”