On a typical day, the Western New York Book Arts Center (468 Washington St.) is a playground for bibliophiles -- a place to immerse oneself in the centuries-old craft of the hand-printed object. But on Saturday, as the center hosts its first-ever BookFest, the small storefront gallery and basement print shop will become must-visit territory for Western New York's print-loving world.

The festival, a major effort to reach those with even a tangential interest in the printed word, will feature an artist market with printed material from more than a dozen galleries, artists and small presses along with several workshops for kids and adults. Visitors can learn bookbinding, letterpress printing and papermaking, or watch Esther K. Smith of New York City-based Purgatory Pie Press give a demonstration on bookmaking.

Perhaps the focal point of the daylong festival, and certainly the most likely to catch the attention of passers-by, will be the creation of "steamroller prints" on the sidewalk outside the Book Arts Center using a steamroller. "It's using the roller on a steamroller as the press," Book Arts Center Executive Director Eric Jackson-Forsberg explained. The prints will be created from four separate woodcuts carved by local artists Hyeyoung Shin, Adele Henderson, Barbara Rowe and Michael Beitz.

The free festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, with more info at 348-1430 or

-- Colin Dabkowski