Twenty-six years of stories

Tim Costello

The Storytelling Festival has been part of Weber State University history for the past 26 years. It originally occurred as a one-day event on across the lawns on campus in 1996.

However, a pipe broke and flooded that part of campus the night before the first event. The janitorial staff did what they could to dry up the lawn on campus, but only so much could be done.

Weber State University Storytelling Festival in March of 2017 (The Signpost Archives)
Children attend the Weber State University Storytelling Festival in March 2017. Photo credit: Signpost Archives

The event lasted 12 hours; from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Organizers were worried that it would be known as a failed experiment, and the storytelling festival would never happen again. However, students, faculty, staff and community members greatly enjoyed the event. Paul Thompson, president of WSU at the time, loved it as well and encouraged the continuation.

In 1997, the Storytelling Festival was moved from campus to the Eccles Theater in downtown Ogden.

Over the years, it has moved around to various locations in Ogden such as Peery’s Egyptian Theater, the Eccles Conference Center and the Megaplex theater at the Junction. This became a tradition, and the festival has thrived as a mainstay of campus activity.

Weber State University Storytelling Festival Mar. 1. (The Signpost Archives)
Two musicians perform at the Weber State University Storytelling Festival in March 2017. Photo credit: Signpost Archives

The current pandemic has affected the festival for the better. During the past two years, the storytelling festival has had to transition into a more virtual event, with some trial and error.

“The best part of the virtual aspect is we’ve had more people to see the festival from all over the world,” David Byrd, the head of the Storytelling Festival, said. “We had people from Thailand, India, Germany and most of the states.”

With global and national reception at a promising rate, the festival will continue utilizing the virtual elements while also bringing back in-person features. Each of the featured storytellers will have at least one virtual story to tell, along with in-person complements.

Story Telling Festival, Spring 2011. (The Signpost Archives)
A storyteller animatedly addresses the audience at the Storytelling Festival in 2011. Photo credit: Signpost Archives

For its 26th year, the Storytelling Festival is returning to its roots on Weber’s campus for the first time since its debut, and it will feature multiple locations over the course of the event.

The festival is even bringing back the seminal Storytelling Festival Dinner event for the first time since the pandemic began.

Weber State University Storytelling Festival in March of 2017 (The Signpost Archives)
Children and adults alike attended the Storytelling Festival in March 2017. Photo credit: Signpost Archives