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Ballwin resident to be part of 39th St. Louis Storytelling Festival

By: Jessica Meszaros

Award-winning storytellers from across the United States will be returning to St. Louis in 2018 for the 39th annual Storytelling Festival May 2-5.

The festival is a University of Missouri Extension Community Arts Program and includes over 50 participating venues across the area. Some locations include the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Old Courthouse Gallery, Citygarden and more.

Storyteller Karen Young 

Storytellers from near and far will be featured, including local tellers like Karen Young.

A Ballwin resident, Young has been participating in the festival for over 20 years. She also has told stories all over the area, from coffeehouses to local schools to beneath the Gateway Arch. Her favorite stories to tell are fairytales, myths and legends from Ireland and England.

“I tell “Jack and the Beanstalk” to little kids, but I wouldn’t to high schoolers,” Young said. “I tell the story of Merlin and King Arthur to grade four and above, but not to kindergarteners. Part of being a good storyteller is being able to evaluate your audience, their level of comprehension, their interests and adjust.”

The four-day festival highlights all forms of storytelling, from traditional stories to personal narratives to historical tales, legends and more. There’s something to be enjoyed by all ages. In fact, the festival serves as a kindergarten through grade 12 educational curriculum opportunity with performances at area schools but also focuses on topics like community health and well-being in performances outside the school environment.

Young’s itinerary includes appearances at:

• Spencer Road Branch Library in St. Peters at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 2

• Westridge Elementary in Ballwin at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on May 2

• Laumeier Sculpture Park at 11 a.m. on May 3

• The First Missouri Historic Site in St. Charles at 11 a.m. on May 5

“Stories are for everyone,” Young said. “I’ve told stories in coffee shops to all adult audiences and they’ve been just as powerful as the ones told to students in classrooms.”

The festival finale will take place at 7:30 p.m. on May 5 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus. For more information, visit stlstorytellingfestival.com

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