BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Once again, the city that reads is inviting people to Mount Vernon for the 17th annual Baltimore Book Festival.

Mike Schuh reports there is a major expansion this year.

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What do a mayor, a cookbook author and cupcakes have in common? The Baltimore Book Festival.

“There’s no better way for me to kick off the fall than to talk about the Baltimore Book Festival,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Yes, the book festival. It is its 17th year, drawing 55,000 people.

Such a big deal, that the new artistic director of Center Stage returned from last year’s festival with a couple of questions.

“So I gathered our team and I went ‘Why are we not associated? Why is Center Stage not a part of the celebration of the word?'” said Kwame Kwei Armah, Center Stage artistic director.

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His questions led to an expansion. Now the festival will come down the hill toward Center Stage.

“It is about us combining with a wonderful Baltimore institution and that makes me very, very happy,” Kwei Armah said.

Happy too is an award-winning author whose specialty is cupcakes, vegan cupcakes.

“We’re going to have a cooking demo highlighting some of the recipes we have in the book,” said Doron Petersan, “Cupcake Wars” champion. “And everything we do is vegan, egg and dairy free. It’s a little different and we always see lots of new faces.”

So good are her cupcakes that Petersan even had the mayor reflecting on her brief attempt to go vegan.

“When I saw you I thought, ‘She’s so vibrant and healthy. Maybe I need to give this another shot’ because I was just mad all day,” Rawlings-Blake said with a laugh.

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This year’s festival runs Sept. 28-30. For a full schedule of events, click here.