Hundreds of people are expected to come out this weekend for the Hamptons' biggest literary event, a chance to rub elbows with favorite authors and have fun at the fair.
Sponsored by the East Hampton Public Library, the annual Authors Night fundraiser starts at 5 p.m. Saturday with a reception and book signing at Gardiner Farm on James Lane where, for $100, people can have some wine and Swedish hors d'oeuvres and possibly meet more than 100 writers, from Robert Caro and Nelson DeMille to actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who wrote a cookbook this year.
The writers, or their publishers, donate copies of their books, which are also sold, adding to the $200,000 expected to be raised to support the library. Lots of the books sold are autographed.
For $250, people get to dine at 8 p.m. with their favorite writer at local homes, although some guest tables fill up so quickly some may have to take their second choice in authors.
But while the Authors Night crowd is measured in the hundreds, the after-party -- a Sunday event aimed at children -- draws thousands of people, and it's free.
Between 2,500 and 3,000 people are expected to go to the Children's Carnival for an afternoon of games and rides and food, and a story writing contest.
It's also held at the farm under tents starting at 2 p.m.
"It's open to everybody," library director Dennis Fabiszak said. "It goes back to the old days when fairs were just for kids and things are free. It's all about having a great day . . . and it lets us take advantage of a very expensive tent."
Actually, there will be seven tents set up at the farm for the weekend crowd, and the $10,000 tent cost, like many of the other expenses of the $45,000 party, will be underwritten by sponsors.
The expenses include the food, the carnival rides and the Story Pirates, a national touring group that will act out three stories picked from about 150 entries submitted by local elementary school students.
Each of the winners will get a $250 gift certificate from Ralph Lauren for its children's store. The library gets a check from the company for $10,000.
The Authors Night program has been held for nine years, and the children's fair always follows it the next day. "Families put it on their calendar. . . . People come out and stay with friends just to attend it," Fabiszak said.