North Texas Daily

Storytelling serves as alternative Denton festival

Storytelling serves as alternative Denton festival

March 07
01:34 2013

Courtney Garza

Staff Writer

@courtneygdaily 

The Tejas Storytelling Festival celebrates its 28th year of inviting Dentonites to indulge in ghost stories, tall tales and workshops at the Denton Civic Center, starting tonight through Sunday afternoon. 

Kicking off the festival with the Haunts and Haints Ghost Stories at 7 p.m., the tales will start off family-friendly but as the night goes on, “things begin to get a little hairy,” said Decee Cornish, one of this year’s featured tellers. 

For older listeners, the ghost stories get darker as the night goes progresses.

“In the 28-year history of the festival, it has always been a family-oriented event,” Cornish said. “Families sit together to laugh and take home a message that will provoke conversation, joy and introspection.” 

Cornish is a national-level teller that has attended the festival as a speaker and a listener since the mid ‘90s, delighting in the fun the audiences take from the stories. Every year has a new theme and new concepts are brought up. 

This year’s theme is “Maps, Music and Merriment,” where stories of the world, especially those of Japan and Africa, will be spoken.

The audience is filled with long-time attendees like Dalton Gregory, former Robert E. Lee and Wayne Stewart Elementary principal, UNT adjunct professor and current Denton City Council member. Gregory delayed his family’s Spring Break vacation plans just to make the festival.

 “I have found that the stories that I’ve told my elementary students, the college students also enjoy, as any age can enjoy a good story,” Gregory said. “Storytelling is crucial for spiritual formation because one needs an imagination to better themselves.” 

The festival not only provides spooky ghost stories, but also a lying contest that allows tellers to compete by sharing the most outrageous tale. There are also food trucks like Guy Romo’s Moto Chef Moto Diner food truck, workshops with renowned storytellers, concerts with artists from around the world, and the Talespinner Party and Silent Auction serving as major fundraisers for the Tejas Storytelling Association. 

As a storyteller and media aficionado, UNT journalism master’s student Peggy Helmick-Richardson handles a lot of publicity matters for the festival and has seen a major growth in attendance in recent years.

“We are drawing in new and diverse audiences every year,” Helmick-Richardson said. “Storytelling is making a resurgence with more and more people becoming involved.”

 

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