Friday, April 26, 2013

Vance County Storytelling Festival

       Tuesday, April 23, 2013 was an exciting day as 12 storytellers gathered in Henderson, NC for the Vance County 17th Annual Storytelling Festival at the Perry Memorial Library.  During the course of the day fourth grade students arrived from around the county to enjoy a feast of folktales dished out by these storytellers.  The festival concluded with an evening family story concert, filled with energy and audience participation. 
        I was invited as one of those storytellers.  My alarm was set for 4:30am.  Ordinarily, I’m not conscious at that time of morning.  But if I wanted to arrive in time for the first session at 9:30am, I had to get going.  After a fun filled and gratifying day I returned home at 11:30pm.  I was so tired and sleepy I felt as though I was on a drunk.  I’ve read this is what happens to our bodies when we are facing sleep deprivation.  I crashed into bed and slept most of the next morning.  Crazy you say?  No, it was a fun, worthwhile kind of ‘tired’ and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!  
        Sadly, within the past several years I‘ve witnessed a number of storytelling festivals fall by the wayside in my area of the country.  After talking with organizers of the Vance County festival, I wonder, is the declining number of festivals due to a lack of funds during a time of recession, or is it simply due to lack of strong community interest, leadership, conviction and support?
        I applaud the Perry Memorial Library for their strong leadership, conviction and dedication to preserve the ancient art of storytelling.  This would not be possible without help from their local community.   They are able to do this with help from local organizations.  The Vance County Arts Council and the Friends of Perry Memorial Library gave their generous support, in addition to the NC Arts Council.  It’s all a part of literacy and historical preservation.      
       It was a great honor for me to participate in this event.