Saturday, June 1, 2013

Grand Storytelling at Grand Vue

What a time we had! 10 storytellers, children from two schools, parents, teachers and general public, all joined together by stories atop a high windy ridge in beautiful Marshall County. Organized by Rich Knoblich with the assistance of Judi Tarowsky, the first-ever Grand Vue Storytelling Festival was all things a festival should be: fun, relaxing, inspiring, amusing, entertaining and educational.

We started off at the Moundsville-Marshall Public Library with a program called an olio--a concert that gave a taste of things to come the following day. I am no stranger to this library as I have been there several times over the years to tell stories for summer reading, for ghost stories, book talks and a writing workshop. The staff is always welcoming and they know how to set things up for a good program. Each teller shared a short story and the selections ranged from folktales to tall tales to stories from history.

We were at it again the following morning. It was a windy day, which kept us all comfortable in the outdoor shelter even though the temperatures were in the high 80's. The best comments of the day:

*One 5th grade boy sitting in front of me turned to his friend and said, with his face alight with pleasure, "I thought storytelling was going to be boring!"

*A teacher stopped me to tell me that she remembered hearing me tell stories over 12 years ago at a conference in Charleston--and could even tell me what story I told. When I asked her if she ever retold it she replied, "Oh yes, but not nearly as good as you!" Oral tradition, passing it on in the time-honored way (and I bet she tells it pretty well!).

A group of 5th graders who said, "We're all going to be storytellers!"

After the storytelling we went down to the town of Moundsville (home of the infamous West Virginia State Penitentiary, now closed and the site of tours, including ghost tours) for ice cream at this very cool place.

I mean cool in every sense of the word: The Big Dipper, it's called, and the dips were generous, the ice cream delicious and the decor totally rocked.

One of our group mentioned that his great-grandfather had been a warden at the penitentiary, and that every summer his grandmother used to stay with him, and get banana splits at an ice cream place. He ordered a banana split--and then we learned that this was the very place where his grandmother had bought her banana splits! Back then it was called the Marshall Dairy, I believe.

 Now that is a banana split! One day I will have to try one of those again. It's been years.

Moundsville has so much to offer, and I need to carve out time to take advantage of its many attractions. I've already toured the penitentiary with two of my grandchildren and hiked to the top of hte highest Indian mound east of the Mississippi River, but there is more to see. Like the Marx Toy Museum, the Circus Museum housed on the upper level of the ice cream shoppe, the zipline at Grand Vue Park, and the paranormal museum downtown.

Talk is already underway about a repeat of this small but successful first effort. Even if I am not selected as a teller, I will be there, I hope, as a listener and as a tourist in Moundsville. And yes, I plan to try the zipline too!

Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Michelle said...

Sounds like a wonderful time and what a great place to visit!

Nance said...

it all sounds way cool! Let me know the next time you will be there . . . to listen or to tell tales. I want to try that zip line with you : ) I have been bugging my husband now for 3 or 4 years about a zip line.

Sue said...

Seems like your part of the country has a rich storytelling heritage. I wish we had more of that around here.


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