Lititz Storytelling Festival returns Oct. 20-21

By on October 4, 2017

The Warwick Education Foundation will presents its annual Lititz Storytelling Festival on Oct. 20 and 21 this year.

Now in its sixth year, the event has developed into a premier showcase for the art of storytelling and has garnered a Mid-Atlantic Spotlight Award from the National Storytelling Network. All stories are performed, rather than simply read, creating a truly interactive experience for the audience and recalling the vanishing art of oral tradition.

This year the Fest will feature five storytellers, among them Bill Harley and Dovie Thomason.

Dovie Thomason

Dovie Thomason is one of the most respected and admired storytellers of her generation. Her ability to craft tales that not only enchant audiences ­­ but also teach invaluable lessons about human nature and indigenous worldviews ­­ has long made her a beloved contributor to schools,organizations and events around the globe. The wry humor and subtle graces that infuse Thomason’s work enable her broad and modern appeal, while a lifetime of study and tradition-bearing ensures the deep cultural roots of her craft remain intact.

Thomason’s journey as a storyteller and artist began with the childhood influence of her Kiowa Apache grandmother, Dovie, whose name Thomason proudly carries. From her, Thomason absorbed not only the stories of her paternal ancestors, but also the ‘pan-Indian’ stories her grandmother learned from other children during the boarding school era. These tales were told to Thomason in the traditional way, intended not only to entertain, but also to gently teach and instruct. Imparting everything from practical advice to cultural values, these tales were coated with affection and humor, making them well-loved sources of both amusement and wisdom. These timeless stories would eventually form the core of Thomason’s highly regarded repertoire.

Dovie Thomason

Thomason was aided in her desire to study the oral traditions of the First Nations by tribal elders across North America. As she traveled, she had the opportunity to learn new tales from neighboring cultures, different interpretations of familiar stories, and the tales of her maternal Lakota ancestors. Learning to convey these stories to audiences young and old, indigenous and non-indigenous, became Thomason’s vocation.

Most recently, Thomason is preparing to begin her time as the University of Manitoba Centre for Oral Culture and Creative Writing’s writer/storyteller-in-residence for January through March, 2015. The first American to be granted this prestigious appointment, she plans to use it to work on her first young adult fantasy book, as well as mentor undergraduate students. Thomason looks forward to approaching these upcoming projects as she has all others in her career: with good humor and excellent spirits.

Bill Harley

A two-time Grammy award-winning artist and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the RI Council for the Humanities, Harley uses song and story to paint a vibrant and hilarious picture of growing up, schooling and family life. His work spans the generation gap, reminds us of our common humanity and challenges us to be our very best selves. A prolific author and recording artist, Bill tours nationwide as an author, performing artist and keynote speaker.

Bill began singing and storytelling in 1975 while still in college. His work has influenced a generation of children, parents, performing artists and educators. Bill’s songs are joyous, direct and honest, his stories are filled with the details of daily life — all told and sung from his slightly off-center point of view.

“Humor is my weapon,” says Harley of his award-winning recordings. A two-time Grammy winner, Bill’s recordings have also garnered numerous other national awards including Parents’ Choice, NAPPA (National Association of Parenting Publication Awards), ALA (American Library Association) and the highest honor from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio for his concert DVD, “Yes to Running!” filmed in conjunction with Montana PBS.

Bill Harley

Bill’s trademark wit and wisdom can also be found in his picture books and novels for children. The first book in his Charlie Bumpers vs. series, “Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year” won the Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award. He’s currently working on book seven in the series and book six, “Charlie Bumpers vs. His Big Blabby Mouth” came out last month.

The Lititz Storytelling Festival will be held at the Warwick Middle School Auditorium. The venue offers comfortable seating, a state-of-the-art sound system, and accessible parking. All seats are general admission

For a complete schedule, ticketing and other information, visit

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