Once upon a time in a land that was not far, far away, there were two La Crosse lawyers who decided their community should have a storytelling festival. They wanted local families to hear great stories, and they wanted the public to be educated about the history of storytelling.
In 2003, Keith Belzer and Ted Skemp started the La Crosse Storytelling Festival. Three years later, the Bluff Country Tale Spinners, a local storytelling guild, took it over. As Wisconsin’s Only Storytelling Festival, attendants continue to learn about the magic of stories.
Don’t assume this festival is just for kids – although they will enjoy it immensely. As a parent and human, it’s fun to be reminded of the power of lessons we can learn as we listen to others tell stories. There are “adult” stories, too, as the evening cabaret requires proof attendants are at least 18. Come better develop the skills of listening and learning while having fun.
Here are five things to know about the Storytelling Festival, which is held Sept. 9-10 in Myrick Park, before you go:
1) Stories teach us.
2) Things that go bump in the night can be fun.
3) Who doesn’t love Hans Meyer?
I never had a brother who ate bugs, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy hearing songs about Hans’ brother eating them. I first heard this local talent more than 15 years ago when my oldest son was a toddler, and have enjoyed his music ever since. Need some toddler-friendly music for a car ride that doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out? Let Hans sing “God Bless My Underwear,” or “See You Later Alligator,” and you will soon be laughing and joining in. Hans’ stories and songs are kicking off Day Two of the fest. This is a must for families with young children.
4) Local storytelling group has some heavyweight talent.
5) Show and tell isn’t just for kindergartners.
Freelance writerAnastasia Penchi is graduate of UW-La Crosse and a long-time Coulee Region writer who has written for area newspapers and magazines (www.loislaneforhire.com).