Student writing from 40 schools in 16 districts throughout Merced County will be displayed through Saturday at the Merced Mall as the Merced County Office of Education kicks off the Merced County Writing Festival.
The writing festival, established in 1984, has 20 separate categories in both prose and poetry that students can enter.
Entries are judged by a panel of teachers from each participating school. Judges for this year's contest reviewed nearly 4,000 entries.
At the beginning of each school year, teachers are given a handbook that lists some 20 categories in both prose and poetry.
A gold medal is given for the best entry in prose and the best entry in poetry at each grade level.
More than 1,200 awards are being given -- 21 are gold medals.
For more information on the Merced County Writing Festival, call Valerie Le Duc at (209) 381-5910.