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Lakewood FAB brings multi-genre arts festival to South Puget Sound

Lakewood Film, Art, & Book Festival, formerly known as Lakewood Asian Film Festival, is a three-day, multi-genre festival celebrating creative work in the South Puget Sound. Photo courtesy Lakewood Film, Art & Book Fest

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October may be the official arts month for Tacoma, but Lakewood is giving the gritty city a run for its money later this month with the arrival of the 6th Annual Lakewood Film, Art and Books Festival. That's right. Lakewood is kicking off the fall season with a free, three-day, multi-genre arts festival nicknamed "Lakewood FAB".

"We want people to come and have a good time," said Phil Raschke, an event coordinator for Lakewood FAB. "This is the only local event I know of that draws film, art and books together in one location. It's a unique event."

Lakewood FAB -- previously known as the Lakewood Asian Film Festival -- will include over 115 artists showcasing and selling their creative works. Local filmmakers, visual artists, authors and craft vendors will present their art to an expected audience of over 800 people. To put that in perspective, that's almost double last year's audience. "This year, we're in a larger venue -- McGavick Conference Center -- and we added the book category," said Raschke. "There are a lot of authors here in the South Puget Sound area."

In total, 40 authors will sell their literary works, hold book signings and chat with festivalgoers at Lakewood FAB. Notable authors include Tami Oldham Ashcraft, author and co-star of Adrift; and Dr. Horac S. Browntrout, an art critic, author and professor emeritus at Multimodal Technical University in Gubinsbert, Germany.

There will also be a juried art and photography show with awards of $500 and $1,000, and film screenings of A Man Called Ove, All We Could Carry, Biutiful, Eddie the Eagle, Race, United 93, Wind River, and Winter in Wartime. Readers should note that seating at film screenings is limited and will be on a first-come-first-serve basis. "We want everyone (artists and attendees) to mix and get to know each other," said Raschke. "It'll be enriching for everyone to get to know each other, experience art and have a good time. That's a rare thing."

The festival will include live music by Lee Oskar, a harmonica player named Billboard Magazine's "Instrumentalist of the Year" and co-founder of the infamous rock band WAR. Festivalgoers will also have opportunities to win prizes (including tickets to the Tacoma Film Festival), explore a Kaihara Bonsai exhibit and purchase concessions. Parking will be free throughout the festival.

Lakewood Arts Festival Association organizes the Lakewood FAB, and the festival has been increasing in size and scope since it was first held in 2013. In previous years, the festival was known as the Lakewood Asian Film Festival. Despite its name change, the event's overarching intent, "to stimulate interest and growth in the arts, encourage and support creative artists, provide a sales outlet for professional and amateur artisans and involve the active sponsorship of community groups and individuals in the promotion of Lakewood arts," remains the same.

For those wondering why the festival's name changed after five years of success, the answer is simple: "The festival grew each year and was more successful -- with a larger turnout -- each year," said Raschke. "But, we realized we were reaching the limits of our audience, so we decided to re-launch the event and give it a new look this year, focusing on international films and art. We decided to add the book element, too."

LAKEWOOD FILM, ART AND BOOK FESTIVAL, noon-9:30 p.m., Friday-Sunday, Sept. 28-30, Sharon McGavick Center, 2500 Steilacoom Blvd., Lakewood, free, facebook/lakewoodfilmartsbooks 

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