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Downs set to mark 20 years of storytelling





DOWNS -- Celebrating its 20th anniversary Friday and Saturday, the Kansas Storytelling Festival in Downs will feature two-time Grammy award winner Bill Harley.

The festival offers two evening concerts and several separate sessions of stories, workshops, music and more.

Festival coordinator Glennys Doane, who said she enjoyed a presentation by Harley at a storytelling festival in Tennessee, said she was impressed with Harley's ability to connect with both young people and adults.

"He is so joyful. I don't know a better word," she said. "Kids warm up to him.

"They hear his stories on one level and adults hear his stories maybe on a little different level, but they enjoy him just the same. (His stories) are universally appealing."

Other storytellers performing during the weekend include Vicky Town, Beth Horner and Marla Matkin. Details about the festival are available at kansasstorytelling.com.

Typically drawing crowds of approximately 300, the storytelling festival brings individuals from throughout the nation to indulge in the verbal art form at "the storytelling capital of Kansas."

For folks who haven't experienced a storytelling festival, Doane said the Downs festival could provide a glimpse into an ancient form of human expression.

"It's not stand-up comedy, and it's not necessarily reading a fairy tale," she said. "It's an art form.

"Until you've experienced it, you can't appreciate how wonderful it is."