Festival, workshops debut Saturday.
By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — Get E. Gale Buck talking … about the weather, fishing, the North Pole, or even himself, and be prepared to hear him describe whatever it is in a whimsical, winding fashion.
That’s because what Buck does best is what he and several others will be doing all day Saturday for the inaugural Forest Storytelling Festival.
“I have timed my stories out. I’m working on it, perfecting it, practicing it,” says Buck, noting he’s going to tweak one tale around the history of the town’s railroad incidents.
“My lead story will be the story of Wake Forest, how Wake Forest almost didn’t come to be. There were four historic railroad accidents in downtown within a few feet of each other,” he says.
Each of the trains could well have wiped out all the buildings downtown, back when the whole town was basically downtown. Buck hopes some who attend will already know the history: “That’ll make it more fun. The history is just facts. Storytelling brings it to life.”
Buck, who lives in Raleigh, will be joined at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre, 301 S. Brooks St., by three other storytellers, including former Wake Forest resident Claire Ramsey, as well as Priscilla Best and Robin Kitson.
The day begins with Ramsey and Best holding a children’s storytelling concert in the morning, followed by storytelling workshops for both children and adults.
“I’ll be leading one (workshop) on building stories, sharing lessons I learned from other professional storytellers,” says Buck.
There are four workshops for children of different ages and two for adults. One of the adult workshops teaches a kind of marketing — how to sell products, personal skills or art through telling of tales.
An open mic comes after each work session for new students to try their hand at spinning a tale or two.
Then, at 7 p.m. is the adult storytelling concert featuring Gale and Kitson, and possibly the other two, too.
Tickets on sale
The event is sponsored by the town of Wake Forest, Storyteller’s Book Store, Wake Forest ARTS and the United arts Council.
Tickets are $5 for the children’s storytelling concert, $5 for the workshops and $10 for the evening concert.
Buck is also an author, bagpiper, sometimes Santa and co-founder of Village Storytellers.
Kitson grew up in New Orleans, writes poetry and tends to strike for the funny bone in her stories.
Ramsey, president ex officio of the N.C. Storytelling Guild, turned a career as children’s librarian into storyteller in 2007, and hasn’t looked back.
A retired educator and Goldsboro resident, Best is known statewide as the Heart to Heart Storyteller, delighting audiences of all ages in community, church, school or cultural settings with her folksy tales.
Some storytellers tell one tall tale, taking their time to build and build it until they’re almost out of breath. Buck has three or four shorter stories up his sleeve, though the hardest may the be the first — after all, people around Wake Forest really know their local history.
But if you attend, prepare to walk out bamboozled, befuddled, or bewitched. Though Buck is a relative newcomer in the storytelling world (he started in 2010), he won the 2014 Bold-Faced Liars Showdown in Laurinburg with a tale about noodlin’ for frog-biters. (Don’t ask!)
“This is a very family-friendly festival,” adds Buck. “We just want people to enjoy it and have a great evening.”
To learn more about Buck’s background, check out woodsmanstories.com.
For information about the event, or to order tickets, see tiny.cc/foreststories or call 919-435-9560.