OGDEN — DeeDee Mower doesn’t blame folks for getting hooked on the Weber State University Storytelling Festival, now in its 23rd year.
The assistant professor in WSU’s teacher education department and chairwoman of the annual three-day event calls it “bold and wonderful.”
“Once you go, you’ll come back every year,” she said.
But that’s not really your fault, according to Mower.
“Our minds — our brains — are pre-wired for stories,” she said. “Throughout generations, that’s how we impart knowledge to one another.”
This year’s WSU Storytelling Festival will bring national, regional and youth storytellers to perform at various venues in Weber, Davis and Morgan counties. This year’s theme is “Stories from My Culture,” and features award-winning storyteller Ed Stivender, Israeli actress/author Noa Baum, internationally acclaimed mime and storyteller Antonio Rocha and actress Jasmin Cardenas.
In addition to the above national storytellers, Mower said 12 to 15 regional tellers are invited in to work alongside the pros, “so they can better their storytelling skills.”
Mower said they also bring in a large group of youth storytellers — about 70 students from local school districts — to perform at the festival.
It all adds up to three full days of stories, told by everyone from first-timers to seasoned professionals.
“It’s, like, full 12-hour days of storytelling,” Mower said.
The festival begins at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 25, at the Ogden Eccles Conference Center and Peery’s Egyptian Theater in Ogden, continues there throughout the day Tuesday, and concludes Wednesday at the Davis Conference Center in Layton. There are also additional events at WSU, as well as outreach concerts at retirement communities and elementary schools in Ogden, Washington Terrace, West Point, Eden, Morgan, Farmington, Perry, Bountiful and Woods Cross.
Among the festival’s highlights will be:
“Bedtime Stories,” Sam Payne and Rocha, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Peery’s Egyptian Theater
“Campfire Tales,” Stivender and Baum, 7:30 p.m. Monday, Peery’s Egyptian Theater
“Family Fun Night,” Karl Behling, Laurie Allen and Payne; 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Davis Conference Center
“Festival Finale: National Storytellers’ Favorites,” Cardenas, Rocha, Stivender and Baum; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Davis Conference Center
The WSU Storytelling Festival is free and open to the public, although donations are welcome. For a complete list of events, visit www.weber.edu/storytelling/default.html.
Mower said storytelling is becoming popular throughout society. For example, she said businesses are beginning to use storytelling to advance their companies. And storytelling at WSU started out in the education department, according to Mower, “because storytelling is a great way to teach students.”
Mower encourages all to attend next week’s WSU Storytelling Festival, and to bring a friend or two.
“It wouldn’t matter the age of your friends — whether young children or an elderly person — every age group is entertained by storytelling,” she said. “There are other storytelling festivals out there, but this one feels like home.”