In FY2013 The Cultural Trust awarded $5,000 to first-time Trust grantee Libraries of Eastern Oregon (LEO) to support its first-ever Word Round-Up book and writer’s fair, which just took place this past weekend, October 26-27.

The award will allow LEO to pay lodging and transportation for key presenters at the conference, including David Axelrod, Pamela Steele, and Anne Osterlund. The group has been able to offer a small stipend to speakers and workshop leaders as well. “We can only play on the good will (of the presenters) once or twice,” said Craig. “These are people who typically charge $500 to $5000 and they’re doing this for free. The least we can do is pay for their lodging.”

With 3,000 writers and book lovers estimated to descend on the Wild Horse Casino and Pendleton this weekend, the economic impact is bound to be felt. Wild Horse has 45 block rooms filled and more reservations being made every day. LEO is now recommending overflow lodging. “People are coming from Boise, Spokane, Bend, and Portland,” said Craig. “It’s going to be crazy. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Mulling over their fundraising strategy last spring, Libraries of Eastern Oregon realized, “that we needed to think like entrepreneurs,” said Craig. “We (thought up) a regional book fair; then we decided we needed to bring in some workshops, and authors… Powell’s Books and OMSI have become partners… and it has mushroomed.”