SEMINOLE — At least 30 tellers — and probably many, many more listeners — will take part in the first Spirit of Oklahoma Storytelling Festival, set for June 1-2 in Seminole.

The event, sponsored by the Oklahoma Territory Tellers in conjunction with Seminole State College, will be held on and around the college campus.

The festival is planned to commemorate the state's Centennial but also as a first annual event, said Jeanette Harjo, festival chairwoman.

Featured during the two days will be storytelling in various categories — with subjects including American Indians, the Old West, family memories, the state's history in general and even ghost stories — the “swapping” of stories, a children's matinee and visits to the nearby historic Mekusukey Mission.

An overall festival pass of $20 is meant to help cover expenses, or smaller fees are available for individual events.

The festival will begin on Friday evening with stories by three “featured tellers,” Lynn Moroney of Oklahoma City; Jerry Young of Mesquite, Texas, originally of the Oklahoma City and Mustang areas; and Steve Kardaleff of Lawton.

Both tellers and fanciers of word-of-mouth stories are expected from throughout Oklahoma and even other states, said Harjo, a resident of Maud and a retired library media specialist - as well as a storyteller, too, who calls herself “country through and through.”

In connection with some of the festival events, college credit is offered through Seminole State, added Harjo, who will teach Storytelling 101 in conjunction with the festival.

Bonnie Smith of Paden, Territory Tellers president, said all the stories told during the festival - those both true and untrue - will somehow portray both the history and culture of Oklahoma.

Smith, a retired Prague teacher, said her organization created the festival “as a special way to commemorate the state's Centennial - with the telling covering everything from the oil fields to cultural activities.”

She also expressed the belief that all state storytellers share her sentiments: “I'm very proud to say 'I'm an Okie'!”

Molly Lemmons of Mustang, a writer who is retired from Mustang Schools, agreed that all stories planned for the festival “portray the character of Oklahoma.”

She is among seven women who will tell stories based on family backgrounds in a session called “History from the Heart.”

Chester Weems of Yukon, a retired school administrator and a native of Seiling, will tell stories based on the history of his family, who settled in present-day western Oklahoma in the 1890s.

However, he said, while the yarns he spins are based on fact, “I don't always let the truth get in the way.”



Jeanette Harjo, (405) 398-4310;;

Bonnie Smith, (405) 932-5406

Trending Video

Recommended for you