Whether they're first-timers or devoted patrons, people who plan to attend next week's Oklahoma City Storytelling Festival are encouraged to bring their sense of history, sense of humor and sense of adventure.
A box of tissues is recommended, too.
“It's like a one-man show mixed with comedy and inspiration and tears. I've cried at these before. They can be really powerful and really moving,” said Christina Foss, projects director for the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, which produces the festival.
This year, the venerable festival, which includes performances by local and nationally known storytellers, workshops and a family matinee, is shifting to a different month and venue. The 2013 event is Thursday through Aug. 24 at the Oklahoma History Center, with a few activities lined up at downtown hot spots such as the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
“The history center is all about telling the stories of Oklahomans, all Oklahomans from all walks of life,” said Dan Provo, director of the Oklahoma History Center.
“We think it's a very good fit with the Oklahoma History Center: oral history, traditions, storytelling, folk lore, folk life, all the different parts that go to make up storytelling as a wonderful and history-making, if you will, event.”
Now in its 33rd year, the festival has been going through a reinvention. About four years ago, the arts council moved the festival from February to late summer and changed the name from WinterTales to the Oklahoma City Storytelling Festival. In the past, the festival has been set downtown in the now-defunct Stage Center and under tents.
“After last year, when we had some weather issues with having it out in the tent — it was like 104 (degrees) one night and then it stormed and blew over the tent the next night — we just decided to try to look at other options,” Foss said. “Not only does storytelling have such a great historical connection — I mean, it is history — but the Oklahoma History Center, they do their own storytelling.”
The event annually brings in featured storytellers recruited from the National Storytelling Festival.