LAYTON— It’s a three-day celebration of the power of story.
The Weber State Storytelling Festival, which runs Feb. 27 through March 1 this year, features three days of storytelling designed to entertain listeners of all ages. A mix of well-known national and local tellers, as well as several dedicated volunteer storytellers, will be on hand at locations throughout Ogden and Davis County, including the Davis Conference Center in Layton. The majority of the events are free, and everyone is welcome to participate.
“The storytelling festival is, obviously, about telling stories and the power of stories in people’s lives,” said Karl Behling, a Farmington-based storyteller who is on the festival’s steering committee and executive board.
This year’s festival features several well-known, award-winning national performers, including Antonio Sacre, Kim Weitkamp, Bil Lepp, Sam Payne and Omar and Lori Hansen. Among the local favorites are well-known figures such as Behling and Clive Romney.
There are also more than 60 youth storytellers participating in the event, drawn from Davis County and Ogden district schools. The tellers, who are chosen based on their performances in previous storytelling events, participate in the morning storytelling sessions and school outreach concerts.
“It’s the largest storytelling festival in the world that focuses on youth storytelling,” said Rachel Hedman, a Layton-based storyteller who serves as the festival’s storytelling chair. “There have been some years where there’s been as many as 90 youth tellers.”
The festival will stay firmly in Ogden through Feb. 27 and 28, with storytelling sessions at Peery’s Egyptian Theater, the Ogden Eccles Conference Center, and at other locations throughout the WSU campus and city. Behling will participate in one of the Tales to Remember storytelling sessions starting at 11 a.m. at Peery’s Egyptian Theater, and will host the Family Literacy Program Story Time from 5:30-6:15 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the Elizabeth Stewart Treehouse Museum. The only ticketed event, the Storytelling Festival Banquet, will be Feb. 28 starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Timbermine Steakhouse in Ogden.
The festival moves down to Layton on Wednesday, March 1, starting with Early Bird Stories from 9:30 a.m.-10:20 a.m. at the Davis Conference Center. The storytelling sessions continue throughout the morning at the conference center until 12:20 p.m., with a special storytelling session for toddlers running from 10:30-11:20 a.m. in the conference center’s Twilight Room. At 1:30 p.m., Bill Lepp will offer a storytelling performance in the ballroom at the WSU Davis Campus in Layton.
Then the storytellers spread out to do concerts at schools and senior centers, with Behling coming all the way to Woods Cross to perform at Odyssey Elementary. Then he’ll be back at the Davis Conference Center from 6:30-7:20 p.m. for Family Fun Scout Night, along with Steffani Raff, Clive Romney, and Sam Payne. The festival finale wraps things up starting at 7:30 p.m. in the conference center’s Ballroom B, with Antonio Sacre, Kim Weitkamp, and Bil Lepp performing their favorite stories. Rachel Hedman will serve as MC.
For the festival’s complete schedule, visit weber.edu/storytelling.