Preserving the verbal tradition

Twenty-one years ago, Karen Ashton attended the National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee in hopes of gathering ideas for children’s storytelling programs at the Orem Library. When she found that the festival was a massive event that drew over 10,000 people of all ages, she was inspired to bring something similar to Utah County.

This Labor Day weekend, the Friends of the Orem Library will host the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, the evolved incarnation of Ashton’s original event. Festival events attract 26,000 attendees each year and are respected by the national storytelling community.

This year, the Festival features 13 professional storytellers in its three days of workshops and performances, as well as several new programs. Events will take place at the Mt. Timpanogos Park in Provo Canyon, with additional events at the Orem Library and the SCERA Shell.

Other than the performances and workshops, the Festival is staging folk music, puppet, juggling and mime performances, as well as one-on-one pottery instruction and a quilting shop-hop.

The four workshops being held this year can offer something to any aspiring storyteller. Ed Stivender is teaching about making it up as you go along in “Fast On Your Feet: Improvisations,” Tim Tingle will present “Collecting Stories: The Power of Preserving,” Kim Weitkamp will teach “Everyone’s Got One,” and Motoko will focus on the physical aspects of storytelling in “Bodystories: Mime and Movement for Storytellers.”

For more information about the Festival, visit www.TimpFest.org

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