Ellwood City’s 11th Annual Storytelling Festival on Sat. Sept 15th, featured five professional storytellers, horse drawn trolley rides, balloon animals, games, wandering minstrels, cookies, popcorn and cotton candy!
I realized after scheduling their appearances, that this year all of our storytellers were men. That happened by chance not design, but it warmed my heart to see the energy and love that these men put into their efforts to entertain our kids and their families! Marc Harshman, Poet Laureate of West Virginia, mesmerized the group with his charming demeanor and flawless delivery. Alan Irvine’s Louisiana drawl always adds a subtle hint of mystery to his stories and draws the adults into his tales, too. Tim Hartman is an irrepressible kid-magnet, changing his facial expressions and voice to suit his characters, and tripping over his stool to make the kids laugh. He left us all wanting more! Ronald MacDonald followed him. What an amazing storyteller he is! The kids hang on his every word. And finally Bill Pate, musician extraordinaire, finished the evening with ghost stories around a bonfire. First we howled along with his version of the Werewolves of London. Then, he passed out rhythm instruments and had the kids marching around the fire to the beat of his drums, the flames flickering on their faces.
Storytelling touches a primal chord in all of us. This last Saturday for one afternoon and evening, texting, iPads, and TV were abandoned for a performance art as old as man himself. We sat beneath a cloudless fall sky, under arching tree branches, and listened to five amazing men. Finally, as the sun went down, jackets were buttoned up, as the temperature dropped and everyone gathered around the bonfire as the flames flickered and crackled. It was an amazing day and I am so glad I was part of it!