Better bedtime stories: Timpanogos Storytelling Festival

Long ago lived an Indian Princess who gathered water everyday for her father, the tribal chief.


One morning while collecting water, a wounded deer full of anger sprung out to attack her. Just before the deer could strike, an arrow pierced and killed the beast, protecting the Princess. The arrow belonged to a strong warrior who was in love with the princess. At that moment he both saved her life and won her heart.


Shortly after, the warrior was hunting with the tribal hunting party, unaware that a neighboring tribe was ransacking their tribes homes and demanding to take the princess. Rather than surrender, she released her soul to the Great Spirit but the attackers took her lifeless body.


By the time the hunters had returned to the tribe it was too late, she was dead and the enemy gone. In her great memory, a new mountain range appeared with the highest peak shaped like the princess. To this day you see her in the peaks of Mount Timpanogos, according to Native American folklore.


For 22 years the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Orem has enchanted an ever-growing crowd with the practice of oral storytelling –a tradition practiced since ancient times. The non-profit organization makes Provo Canyon’s Mount Timpanogos Park come alive with memories, folktales, tall tales, history, and a blend of different cultures each Labor Day weekend.


Orchestrating each year’s events is Karen Ashton. She basically founded the Festival by herself after a trip to Tennessee for a storytelling festival. After returning and seeing the sad state of the children’s section of the Orem Public Library, she went about gathering a committee to start a fund-raiser to get it out of the dungeon.


That fund-raiser was a storytelling event, held in the back yard of Ashton’s house, with only a handful of attendees and three storytellers.


Since then, they have moved the now 3-day event to Timpanogos Park and the SCERA Shell. And no longer is finding storytellers  or an audience a problem.


“We find most of our Storytellers on the National Storytelling circuit. We also have plenty of residents from the state and plenty of students participating with their stories. Each year we have hoped that people will come enjoy themselves, and spread the word,” said Louise Wallace, Orem City Library director.


The festival will have five different tents hosting over thirteen storytellers, with returning favorites such as Donald Davis –one of the original three –and live bands, food booths, puppets, and jugglers.
“There is something for everyone,” said Karen Acerson, executive director of the Timpanogos Story Telling Festival.


Timpanogos Storytelling Festival
September 2, 3
SCERA Shell and Mount Timpanogos Park
Limited parking available in the canyon

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