The Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival is celebrating its 10th year. Ten years ago, Bonnie Smith and Jeanette Harjo toured the state meeting storytellers and signing them up for that first glorious festival at Seminole State College. The festival continued there for several years before moving to Southern Nazarene University, and now in our 10th year, we are holding our event for the first time in Guthrie, Oklahoma’s first capital.
This year’s festival honors the Territory Tellers’ past and welcomes new members and opportunities in looking toward the future. TT President Cynthia Calloway has teamed up with Guthrie’s Chamber and city leaders in making this festival a special event.
Highlights this year include some traditional offerings, such as two evening concerts and two workshops from master storyteller and educator Barbara McBride Smith, ghost stories led by Kathryn Thurman, and workshops for tellers at all levels by Jaye McLaughlin, Fred Peters, David Titus and Eldrena Douma. The very popular silent auction will also be a part of the festival’s weekend offerings.
New to the festival this year are some very special offerings, including the Ok, So Story Slam, which has grown in popularity in Tulsa where it began with Ryan Howell, and the Biggest Whopper Contest, where anyone can sign up to tell their whopper story to win a cash prize.
Longtime TT professional storytellers will be in abundance for entertainment at concerts, impromptu storytelling hours and more: These include Liz Parker, Paulette Geeslin, Connie Fisher, Fran Stallings, Tim Couch, Valerie Kimble, Rosemary Czarski, Molly Lemmons, Barbara Jones, Rosie Cutrer, Marilyn Hudson and Tony Hardman.
Newer members of TT are also creating great things for this festival, including Festival Chairwoman Anita Baker, who worked diligently behind the scenes preparing for the event, and her husband Lynn Baker, who will be leading a story circle.
Guthrie-ite Stacey Frazier will be telling a ghost story and also leading a Trolley Tour of the town.In honor of Guthrie’s history, both Friday and Saturday night evening programs will offer Hootenanny and Hoedown entertainment.
Please plan to attend, but if that is not possible, please consider sponsoring the festival. The Territory Tellers organization is a non-profit 501(3)(3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible.