Storyfest at the Bay offers something for all ages

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published October 10, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated October 9, 2013 at 9:47 a.m.
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FAIRFIELD BAY — Story fanatics both young and old will have a chance to hear stories told by professionals at Fairfield Bay’s fourth annual Storyfest at the Bay on Saturday.

Paul Wellenberger, mayor of Fairfield Bay, said the event is something he looks forward to every year.

“The best thing about the [festival] is the storytellers,” Wellenberger said. “They’re so good at telling stories, I lose where I am, and all of my problems are gone.”

Storyfest will kick off at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with coffee, pastries and a tour of Fairfield Bay’s new Our Towne Conference and Visitor Center.

“We’re going to have a grand opening for our conference center,” Wellenberger said.

Erin Taylor, who handles marketing for Storyfest, said the event will have something for everyone who attends.

“There’s going to be a lot of excitement going on in Fairfield Bay,” Taylor said.

Wellenberger said two professional storytellers will be on hand to entertain the crowd: Pippa White and Andy Offutt Irwin.

“I’m character driven,” Irwin said. “One of my characters is an 85-year-old woman, Dr. Marguerite Van Camp, who just graduated medical school, and you get her voice and her perspective of things.”

Irwin said his stories range in subject matter, but all of them are family friendly. According to Irwin’s website, he grew up in Georgia, and he received the 2013 National Storytelling Network Circle of Excellence Award.

Though the stories seem like they’re off the cuff, Irwin said, he has six or seven hours of ready-made material for audience members, who are waiting in suspense to find out what happens next.

Irwin has a background in theater, but he said some professional storytellers do not.

“Sometimes I go off on tangents, but as long as I know how to get myself back [to the story], it’s OK,” he said.

Irwin said his stories are believable, but most of his material is made up.

“I’m a liar,” he said. “I just make stuff up.”

White, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, will also perform at Storyfest in the Bay. According to her website, she has toured 25 states to tell her stories.

Wellenberger said storytelling will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new conference center.

The storytelling will restart at 1:30 p.m. and end for the day at 3:30 p.m.

In addition to the stories and ribbon cutting, Wellenberger said, Taste of the Bay will go on during the festival and feature food from local restaurants in Fairfield Bay.

“[Storyfest in the Bay] is a great way to escape for a while,” he said.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door of the event. Tickets and more information about Storyfest in the Bay are available at www.FairfieldBayStartsToday.com or by calling (501) 884-6500.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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