23rd Storyfest children’s event: real people doing real things

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The 23rd annual Storyfest event was held a few weeks earlier than normal this year, but the timing didn’t deter the overwhelming success of the program.

More than 725 elementary students from Switzerland County, including those in both elementaries and also county home school children.

“I think it went well,” organizer Martha Bladen said. “We really worked to try and match up ages with performances this year. Two of the venues had the same performances both days; while we made a change at one venue the second day for the older kids.”

Kevin Stonerock performed upstairs in the Switzerland County Historical Museum, portraying a ‘Hoosier Pioneer’ and telling stories that honored Indiana’s Bicentennial. At the Technology and Education Center, students were entertained and educated by “The Amazing Budabi Brothers”, which featured incredible juggling talents – including going outside the building for some fire juggling – and the performers also gave the students some tips on how they can learn to juggle.

Both of those performances were presented on both Thursday and Friday.

With younger students attending Storyfest on Thursday, organizers presented the Madcap Puppets at the Historic Hoosier Theater. The troupe was wildly popular with its presentation of Aesop’s Classic Fables.

Friday saw older students, those in grades 4-6, attend Storyfest, so the coordinators this year brought in the Reen Family Singers to perform at the Hoosier Theater.

“We tried to do something that would match the age of the children and their interest levels,” Bladen said.

Along with all of the students, Storyfest is also a reality because of the large number of adult volunteers that come together to make everything run smoothly.

Over the two days, members of the Theater board, including Fred Stave, Dell Percer-Snook, Connie Adams, and others; as well as volunteers like Stasia Wiseman; made sure everything ran smoothly. At the museum, volunteers Sundra Whitham and Helen Parks were downstairs in the museum while the performance was going on upstairs; directing people to different areas of the museum, as well as welcoming any other visitors to the museums, since both the museum and the River History Museum were open those days.

The TEC Center saw the hard work of Bert Allen keep things going; with Bladen noting that once Storyfest was done on Friday afternoon, Allen had the task of changing everything over so that the venue could be used for the Bicentennial Torchbearers reception on Friday night.

Those are just a few of the people who help make the two day event run smoothly. Bladen said that there are also adult volunteers who travel around to the three venues with the school groups in case there are questions or issues.

But as this year’s Storyfest wraps up, it is the students who are at the center of Bladen’s heart.

“I’m just really pleased that it continues to meet the entertainment and educational needs of he children in the area,” she said. “It’s actually live performance. I think it’s so important for the children to see real people doing real things. It’s neat for them to see live performances.”