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Storytelling fest mixes old, new

In an era of 3-D movies and television, audio systems that surround you with true-to-life sound effects and telephones that put a world of entertainment options and social media outlets at your fingertips, why would anyone want to listen to stories told the old-fashioned way?

If you have to ask that question, we urge you to attend the Texas Storytelling Festival this weekend in Denton.

This is the 29th year that some of the best and brightest storytellers have traveled to the city to share folklore, mix music with tales and compete to see who’s the best liar around.

There was a time when telling stories or spinning yarns was a tradition in most American homes. Matriarchs and patriarchs shared memories of past generations, passed along tidbits about family history and continued folklore traditions handed down by their ancestors.

And if the old-timer occasionally stretched the truth, where was the harm? Many of us have fond memories of thrilling tales told around a campfire or shared at family gatherings.

Such time-worn stories not only entertained generations, but they also helped preserve history and taught valuable life lessons.

The Texas Storytelling Festival, hosted by the Tejas Storytelling Association, continues the ancient traditions of storytelling to engage audiences, using old and new stories and techniques.

This year’s event began Thursday night and continues through Sunday at the Denton Civic Center, 321 E. McKinney St.

“We are bringing in four of America’s finest storytellers this year,” said Elizabeth Ellis, artistic director of the festival. “We always bring in the best, and we always showcase some of our own because Texas tellers are just as good, if not better, than what you will find anywhere else.”

Each of the four featured tellers — Angela Lloyd, Janice Del Negro, Tim Couch and Peninnah Schram — has different expertise, ranging from personal stories to fairy tales.

Various ticket options are available, beginning at $10 for admission to individual concerts, and free events also will be featured. A schedule and more information can be found at

Ellis and others involved in this year’s festival promise that the event will feature something for everyone’s taste so that anyone who attends should have a good time.

Once you visit, it’s easy to see why the festival has become a Denton tradition and is celebrating its 29th year. Like they say, everyone likes a good story.

And some stories are worth telling again and again.