What not to miss at 2016 Baltimore Book Festival

Here's what's not to miss at this year's Baltimore Book Festival.

Here are some highlights at this year's Baltimore Book Festival: 

What's Gnu: Check out the debut of the Paws & Pages Stage, which has animal programming plus adoptable pets. Featured authors include Mikita Brottman reading from “The Great Grisby” (4 p.m. Saturday); Bronwen Dickey, “Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon” (noon Saturday); and journalist Jill Yesko, “Murder in the Dog Park” and “Dog Spelled Backwards” at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Big names: Some of the most recognized authors at the festival are likely humorist Carl Hiaasen ("Razor Girl"; noon Sunday, Literary Salon) the best-selling novelist Terry McMillan ("I Almost Forgot About You" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back"; 2 p.m. Saturday, Literary Salon) and pop culture blogger Luvvie Ajayi ("I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual"; 3 p.m. Sunday, Literary Salon).

Attention, foodies: The Food for Thought Stage presents a Sustainable Seafood Panel with James Beard Award-winning chef Spike Gjerde, Gertrude's at the BMA owner John Shields and owner of the True Chesapeake Oyster Co. Patrick Hudson. The panel concludes with an oyster shucking demonstration and tasting. 3:30 p.m. Saturday. And at noon Sunday, Allison and Matt Robicelli — who are bringing their famed bakery to Baltimore — will discuss their new cookbook, “Robicelli's: A Love Story, with Cupcakes: With 50 Decidedly Grown-Up Recipes.” It features confections flavored with such decidedly grown-up ingredients as figs, whiskey and fried chicken.

All the World's a Stage: Check out a demonstration of stage combat at 11 a.m. daily at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company booth near the Baltimore Visitor Center. At 5:30 p.m. Saturday, the Literary Salon will host a free edition of the popular Stoop Storytelling Series featuring seven local writers from thriller author Dan Fesperman to New York Times magazine writer Wil S. Hylton. And at 11 a.m. Saturday, Geppi's Entertainment Museum puts on a pop culture parade along the Inner Harbor Promenade.

Local heroes: Many of our local scribes have larger-than-life-sized personalities. Say hello to former Walters Art Museum director Gary Vikan reading from “Sacred and Stolen: Confessions of a Museum Director” (1 p.m. Saturday, Inner Harbor Stage); Thomas Dolby and his memoir, “The Speed of Sound: Breaking the Barriers Between Music and Technology” (12:30 p.m. Saturday in the Literary Salon); and historian and radio host Bob Hieronimus discussing “The Secret Life of Lady Liberty” (3:30 p.m. Sunday on the City Lit Stage). Brottman will read from another book, “The Maximum Security Book Club: Reading Literature in a Men's Prison” at noon Saturday at the Inner Harbor Stage.

Local author Susan Muaddi Darraj, whose book "A Curious Land: Stories from Home" won a 2016 American Book Award, will appear as part of a panel of writers who won Individual Artist Awards this year from the Maryland State Arts Council (11:30 a.m. Saturday, City Lit Stage). Read more about her here

Marketplace Madness: The exhibitors' and tablers' tents offers everything from large established booksellers to up-and-coming regional authors hawking their work. Though there's no set schedule, you might catch 9-year-old author Lauryn Burks signing copies of her third children book, “Pretty Hand Goes to Paris” in Rash Field along Key Highway, or Kitria Stewart selling her illustrated story book, “Freddie Gray, My Childhood Friend,” at Bicentennial Plaza.

For the kids: You can find highlights for kids and teens here

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If you go

The 21st annual Baltimore Book Festival runs 11 a.m.-7 p.m. today-Sunday on the Inner Harbor Promenade, along Light Street between the Maryland Science Center and the Inner Harbor Amphitheater. Free. baltimorebookfestival.org.