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34th Annual Tampa-Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival, April 26th




Modeling storytelling excellence, some of Florida’s finest professional storytellers will spin tales from Florida, the United States, and around the world at indoor and outdoor stages.


Tampa, Florida (April 11th, 2014) - What do pirates, a monkey, storybook characters, food trucks, strolling entertainers, music, and live professional storytellers have in common?...The 34th Annual Tampa-Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival, held on April 26th at the Hillsborough High School, 5000 N Central Ave., Tampa, FL.  

Everyone’s invited to “Fill Your Sails with 100 Tales,” and to join in the free activities, frolicking, and festive entertainment.  There is no admission fee.  
Hillsborough High School’s historic castle-like architecture and echoing hallways will ring with the sound of excited youth storytellers and their families as the Tampa-Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival celebrates its 34th Anniversary.  Each year hundreds of young people read and learn to tell stories in the weeks preceding the festival and on festival day many of these youth storytellers will tell their stories in classrooms before live audiences.
At 12:15 pm a storybook character parade will wind its way through the festival grounds.  Strolling entertainers will spellbind audiences throughout the day.  All children attending are invited to make and decorate their personalized pirate hats.  At 1:30 pm a performance in the stained glass clad Hillsborough High School Auditorium will feature the renowned Atlantic Coast Theatre for Youth’s free and family-friendly presentation.  At the Book Fair from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm., there are opportunities to purchase books and smart toys.   Area food trucks will be on hand for those who would like to buy a tasty treat.
Modeling storytelling excellence, some of Florida’s finest professional storytellers will spin tales from Florida, the United States, and around the world at indoor and outdoor stages.  Internationally acclaimed, award winning, storyteller, singer, and author, Michael Parent will give two free concerts in the Auditorium at 9:30 am and 1:30 pm.   A native Mainer of French-Canadian descent, Michael has performed as a storyteller and singer, in both English and French, throughout the United States, and beyond, since 1977.  He has been featured at many events, including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and international events in France, England, Ireland, Poland, and New Zealand.  You can sample a bit of Michael’s storytelling courtesy of the Friday Extra Concert Series on Friday, April 25, at 6:30 in the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park as breezes blow from the banks of the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa., 813-931-2166


Organized by the Friends of Storytelling, a Chapter of the Friends of the Library, the Tampa-Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival is a Tampa tradition.  Its youth storytelling program is the United States’ longest running continuous youth instructional storytelling program.  The City of Tampa Recreation Department began a youth storytelling program on its playgrounds in 1947 with six children.  The Festival is the outgrowth of that playground program.   Over the years many thousands of children and their families have been introduced to storytelling.  Gayle Sierrens, Tampa’s popular newscaster, is a youth storytelling alumnus. 
The Festival’s existence is a wonderful example of a community enjoying the benefits of city government, county government, and private sector cooperation.  The City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department, Tampa-Hillsborough County Library System, Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department, the School District of Hillsborough County, and the Arts Council of Hillsborough County all collaborate to continue this unique yearly event.  Lead personnel in these agencies embrace the importance of youth storytelling and the value of story.
Stories define a people. They are the soft skills of the workplace and the currency of human exchange.  The tales that youth have shared at the Tampa-Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival over decades have helped to shape the community and its values.  Storytelling at its best is a reminder that no matter the shade of our complexion, religion, ethnicity, or country of origin, we all love and hate, rejoice and grieve, win and lose, meet villains and heroes, and love a good story!  
The Tampa-Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival has been awarded local, state and national honors for its contributions to the art of storytelling.

•          National Storytelling Network’s Service Award for the Southeastern Region (National Storytelling Network)
•          Outstanding Innovative Program Award for the State of Florida (National Parks and Recreation Department)
•          Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award (Florida Library Association)
•          Annette J. Bruce Lifetime Achievement Award (for past Co-Chair Virginia Rivers’ contributions, by Florida Storytelling Association)
•          National Storytelling Network’s Oracle Award (for Committee Member Kim Rivers’ contributions, by National Storytelling Network)
•          Award of Excellence for Outstanding Achievement in Water Conservation (for presenting water themed storytelling events, by the Southwest Water Management District)
Free Family Fun: Fill Your Sails with One Hundred Tales!, 813-931-2166 

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