The Tucson Festival of Books kicked off today at the University of Arizona. The annual event gives people the chance to hear from some of their favorite authors, it also has entertainment and activities while giving back to the local community.

Tucson Festival of Books Steering Committee Co-Chair Trisa Schorr said, I just love the joy on peoples faces and to know that they love literacy as much as we do.

The festival was started in 2009. Organizers expect over 125,000 people to attend this year.

I love seeing all the energy of all the people that come out, Steering Committee Co-Chair Kim Rosborough said. The little children looking at Batman and people filling the tents to hear their favorite authors.

Author Jessica McCann said she has attended the festival before, but this is her first attending as an author.

Ive come probably 4 or 5 times through the years as a reader and attended lots of the panels, McCann said. Its a wonderful event.

Joining her in the Indie Author tent at the festival was Teresa H. Janssen who traveled from the Pacific Northwest to attend. Her book shares the life of her grandmother and takes place in Arizona and New Mexico.

I knew that this was where people would appreciate the story and so in a sense it was a pilgrimage. I had to come back, Janssen shared. And this festival is just fantastic.

Both authors agreed meeting others is the best part of the festival.

Janssen said, The one-on-one conversations with book readers and people here at the festival has just been delightful.

About 2,400 volunteers help to make the festival happen. Organizers say the festival has raised over $2.2 million for literacy programs in Southern Arizona. The festival runs through March 10.