Steve Sanfield loved the craft of storytelling, and delighted in the art. 34 years ago he dreamed of bringing the best tellers from the nation to a schoolhouse crowning a ridge, and now 34 years later the Sierra Storytelling Festival is joyously continuing Steve’s vision. Once again, the humble 142 year old North Columbia Schoolhouse will be ringing it’s school bell welcoming the finest tellers from around the nation to its tree-shaded, built for storytelling amphitheater.
Considered the Queen of Storytelling Festivals, it consistently brings award-winning, nationally-recognized performers to its rural location because of its long history of quality. “Sierra Storytelling Festival is a dream for any storyteller/performer. Performing on stage under a ceiling of tree canopies, crisp sails, and blue skies; a warm and welcoming audience; delicious food and craft beer. Add to that a wide blend of stories and music and seriously, why would you do anything or go anywhere else that weekend?”- Kim Weitkamp, 2019 Featured Teller
Thousands have made the pilgrimage to the tiny schoolhouse on a hill overlooking the Tahoe National Forest. Families have camped for years at Malakoff Diggins State Park from Oregon, Nevada and the Bay Area. Children have grown up on the sloped lawn, and now bring their little ones to the Sunday morning Children’s Festival. Artists, Tech executives, loggers and everyone in between brings a picnic dinner and sits hushed during the Saturday evening tales.
Blushing newbies break fresh-minted stories to old timers during the Open Telling. Families laugh together at the follies of foxes, coyotes, and bears. Instead of wristbands, attendees wear hearts cut out of fabric on their summer shirts. Instead of dust and dancing and loudness of other summer festivals, cool grass, welcoming breezes and gentle naps are part of Saturday afternoon.
2019 Tellers are Choctaw author Tim Tingle, Japanese-American comedienne Motoko, Brazilian Mime Antonio Rocha, Sirius XM star Kim Weitkamp, and Parent’s Choice award-winning musician Kirk Waller. Friday and Saturday night will feature Bay Area senior theater activist Liz Nichols.
Additonally, a rare showing of the San Juan Ridge Tapestry Project will be in the historical Schoolhouse during the Storytelling Festival Weekend, with art design by Jennifer Rain Crosby and fine embroidery by local craftspeople headed up by Marsha Stone.
Tickets are available now by visiting the Briarpatch Co-op in Grass Valley, visiting sierrastorytellingfestival.org or by calling (530) 265-2826 to request a brochure/order form to be mailed to you.
Loads of volunteer opportunities available; kid’s show on Sunday morning; Friday and Saturday evening not recommended for young children. Workshop on Friday is a seperate registration and will sell out.
For more information, visit sierrastorytellingfestival.org or by calling (530) 265-2826 or find Sierra Storytelling Festival on Facebook.
Storyteller Kirk Waller