Now that the Star-Spangled Spectacular has folded up, the Inner Harbor will have to buckle down and get its nose back in the books. The annual Baltimore Book Festival offers a new way to thumb through the city’s best-known destination from Sept. 26-28, boasting new programming for kids, more than 200 author appearances and…free samples!

Like WTMD’s First Thursday concerts before it, the Book Festival was forced to the water’s edge from its previous home atop Mount Vernon by the ongoing construction on the Washington Monument. As a result of the move, however, the City-sponsored Festival now has more space to operate.

“This has really given us a chance to expand programming, so there’ll be even more for festival-goers to enjoy,” e-mails Mitch Case, a festival spokesperson.

This year’s lineup of presenters at the main Literary Salon stage feature authors you’ve seen on TV like Tavis Smiley (PBS’ Tavis Smiley), and authors who can break down the cultural underpinnings of Coldplay like Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, The Visible Man).  One stage is set to focus exclusively on food writing, with appearances and samples from the blogger behind Seriously Delish to the BBQ of Orioles legend Boog Powell. There’s also plenty of room for Alt, as radical books and comic books each get a tent.

To kick off the weekend, things will be Epic and hashtagged, because that’s how kids like it.  On Fri., Sept. 26, the inaugural #EpicBookFest will crack the weekend’s spine with a slate of programming designed for children and young adults. Along with author appearances, the smallest bookworms among us will be able to participate in Storybook Parades and craft projects, as well as explore the ocean at a stage near the National Aquarium.

For a complete schedule, check out the Baltimore Book Festival’s website. There’s also an app.

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.