Storytellers festival to take place March 17


The Storytellers of San Diego and the Encinitas Branch of the San Diego County Library will present the eighth annual San Diego Storytelling Festival: Voices at the Water’s Edge on March 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Encinitas Library, 540 Cornish Dr., Encinitas, CA. The festival will be held in conjunction with World Storytelling Day, when performances, concerts and festivals all over the world celebrate the art of storytelling.

The San Diego Storytelling Festival is regarded as one of the premier festivals in California, and the only one that is entirely free to the public — thanks to grants and generous community and individual support. More than two dozen storytellers — from full-time, nationally- and internationally-known professional storytellers to local folks with true, extraordinary tales to share — will be ready to tell a tale.

Among the featured storytellers at the festival will be Scott Whitehair, Randel McGee, Patti Christensen, James Nelson-Lucas, Marilyn McPhie, Jim Dieckmann, Fred Laskowski, Mindy Donner, O. J. Mozon, Linda Whiteside, Eric George Tauber, and more. At 10 a.m., the festival will begin with a workshop on “Personal Stories for Everyone” by Scott Whitehair, a dynamic storyteller and producer from Chicago. Whitehair has brought his high-energy tales to venues, festivals, and conferences all over the world, and has been seen/heard on NPR, PBS< WGN Radio, TOX-TV, Sirius XM and The risk Podcast. He is a two-time Moth Slam winner and recognized at the Windy City All-City Story Slam Championship. He has appeared at the Exchange Place at The National Storytelling Festival. In addition, Whitehair is an in-demand instructor and a producer of several highly-regarded storytelling series. At 10:30, programming for kids begins with a special story time, featuring puppets, stories and sing-along. Another session for kids will be held in the afternoon. The general kick-off for the festival will be at 11 a.m. with a proclamation from dignitaries, followed by a storytelling show for all with the theme of “Wise Fools,” the 2018 theme for World Storytelling Day. Every hour there will be a different show in the community room.

At noon, local students from Paul Ecke Elementary School will perform folktales, culminating an arts residency, and their performance will be followed by an “open mic” for any kids who have a story to share. Next, there will be a performance by acclaimed puppeteer Randel McGee and Groark, his dragon. McGee’s wit, chameleon-like facial expressions, and fast-paced songs and stories have captivated audiences across the USA and in Asia for more than thirty years. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the 1 p.m. show features “Tales from the Emerald Isle.” Irish stories will include accompaniment by Irish harp and a whimsical tale with a paper-cutting illustration. Following that, “Birds of a Feather” will spotlight tales of birds, with visual artist Stacie Birky Greene creating a large painting on stage as the stories are told. As part of the acclaimed “Real People; Real Stories” series, there will be military veterans sharing personal experiences from their time in the service. And in a nod to local culture, another presentation will be from legendary San Diego surfers.

In addition to the morning’s “Personal Stories” workshop, there will be workshops on “Bible Storytelling” from a former Navy chaplain and “Puppetry 101” from a storyteller and member of the San Diego Guild of Puppetry. An open mic opportunity for adults will give attendees a chance to share their own story from the main stage at 3 p.m., and the festival will conclude with a concert of stories by several of San Diego’s most noted tellers plus visiting guest tellers. In addition to the storytelling programs, the festival will include lively music by Gemini Junction, headed by Encinitas resident J. T. Moring, a performance by San Diego’s own Moreton Bay Fig Morris Dancers, and a presentation by local author Giovanni Brooks. The entire daytime festival is free to the public.

For more information, call the Encinitas Library, 760-753-7376, or Marilyn McPhie, 858-484-1325 or check