Forest Storytelling Festival takes center stage

PORT ANGELES — At the Forest Storytelling Festival, each story takes on a life of its own — molded and cast into forms as unique as the people who tell them.

This weekend’s festival offers “something for everyone,” president Cherie Trebon said.

The 14th installment of the growing event runs today through Sunday at Peninsula College’s Little Theater, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd.

Last year’s festival sold out the 255-seat theater.

“We’re becoming very well known throughout the storytelling community,” Trebon said.

“They [the storytellers] look forward to coming here because they know it’s a good place to perform.”

Starry-eyed theme

The theme for this year’s Forest Storytelling Festival is “So Many Stars . . . So Many Stories.”

In keeping with the celestial theme, Port Angeles storytellers Jan Yates and Carlos Xavier will tell a French myth that Xavier translated about the girl on the moon and how she fell in love with the man on the moon.

Xavier will also play a flute to add a “third storyteller,” Yates said.

“The stories are either very funny or sometimes can move you to tears,” said Yates, whose short performance at 1:30 p.m. Saturday will serve as an opening act for noted New York author and storyteller Diane Wolkstein.

Such prominent storytellers as Wolkstein, Donald Davis, Mary Gay Ducey, Anne-Louise Sterry, Alton Chung and Jamestown S’Klallam tribe’s Elaine Grinnell will join Story People of Clallam County members Ed Sheridan, Alice Susong, Xavier and Yates.

Grinnell, a tribal elder, received the Governor’s Heritage Award in December 2007 for her work as a storyteller and teacher of Native American drum-making, cooking and basketry.

Trebon compared the event to a box of Whitman Sampler chocolates.

“It runs the gambit,” she said. “We try to get a cross section of storytellers.”

An evening concert featuring all storytellers will take place at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday.

Workshop and raffle

A workshop featuring Ducey, Sterry and Chung will start at 9 a.m. Saturday.

There is a final concert on Sunday at 10 a.m. The festival ends with a quilt raffle at 1:15 p.m.

The quilt, created and donated by local quiltmaker Phyllis Luther, is called “Constellations” in keeping with the festival theme.

Evening concerts best

” The evening concerts are the best opportunity to hear all of them,” Trebon said.

Even if you’ve heard one version of a traditional story, it can come across completely different when storytellers add their own touches, Yates said.

Yates attended the Forest Storytelling Festival in its early days when she lived in Sacramento. She moved to Port Angeles in 1998.

The event has grown in size and prominence through the years, she said.

“They love to come to up here because they are treated like royalty, and because it’s so beautiful up here,” Yates said.

The festival is supported by Peninsula College, the state Arts Commission, the Taucher Foundation, a contribution from the Port Angeles lodging tax, First Federal, Seattle Storytellers Guild, Mount Tahoma Storytelling Guild, Royal Victorian Motel, AmeriCorps and the Story People of Clallam County.

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