News Column

Stephen King speech in Bradenton sold out

September 3, 2014

By Kathryn Moschella, The Bradenton Herald

Sept. 03--Stephen King speech in Bradenton sold out

BRADENTON -- Only three weeks after it was announced, the Manatee Library Foundation's "An Evening with Stephen King" at the Manatee Performing Arts Center is sold out, and the foundation has reached its fund-raising goal of $100,000

King, a Sarasota resident who has published a new novel, "Mr. Mercedes," stipulated that he speak on behalf of the county library system in an intimate venue, according to foundation president Jane Plitt, and the Performing Arts Center was the right setting with only 370 seats, The tickets were quickly purchased by sponsors, but the original intent of having the rest of the community purchase remaining tickets at a later date had to be nixed.

"It was our expectation that tickets would be available to the public, but the response from the community to grab sponsorship level support blew away the limited number of tickets we had," Plitt said. "We really want to emphasize that Mr. King will be on tape and shown on local television so the public will be able to experience and see Mr. King and his presentation in full.

"In regards to the waiting list, we are waiting for some people to follow up with their sponsorship payments, and if they don't, there will be availability and we'll move through the waiting list," Plitt said.

Several Manatee County students from eight public high schools, along with chaperones, will be treated to free tickets to see King at the Performing Arts Center on Jan. 29 thanks to the support of the Gene and Ann Beckstein Family Fund, a philanthropy under the umbrella of the Manatee Community Foundation, according to executive director Marilyn Howard.

"They are very wonderful people in the community, very active, and they were willing to underwrite the tickets for the students," Howard said.

The library hasn't worked out the student ticket details yet, but there will be some writing involved, says Ava Ehde, the county's library services manager.

"We just started planning it so we need more time to play with it, but we want it to be something the students are working really hard and competing for," Ehde said. "King is a crossover author and every age reads him. We'll have some writing programs to inspire kids around it."

In addition, Ehde said the library will give away two free King tickets during its 5th Annual Mana-Com Comic Convention on Oct. 25 at the Downtown Central Library in Bradenton, which more than a thousand teens are expected to attend.

"We encourage people to put their writing skills to work also," Plitt added in reference to the Foundation's Page Turner contest which is challenging amateur writers to submit the first paragraph of no more than 250 words of an unpublished mystery novel for the chance to win one ticket to the King event. The winner will be announced in January.

METV is taping the King event so it will be available for public viewing shortly afterwards on METV's YouTube channel and on Brighthouse channel 614, Verizon Fios channel 31, and Comcast channel 19.

Kathryn Moschella, Lakewood Ranch reporter can be reached at 941-745-7010. Follow her on Twitter@MoschellaHerald.


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Source: Bradenton Herald (FL)

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