TELL ME A STORY: The annual New Jersey Storytelling Network Festival, which comes to Community Park North Amphitheater on Saturday, September 25, is not just for kids. Ken Karnas, shown at a previous festival with a group of rapt adults, is among those scheduled to appear at the upcoming event.
By Anne Levin
After holding its annual gathering virtually last year, the New Jersey Storytelling Network Festival is going live again. The location, on Saturday, September 25 from 2-4 p.m., is Princeton’s Community Park North Amphitheater.
Several practitioners of the art will be on hand to tell all manner of tales, geared to all ages of listeners. During the last half hour, participants can drop their name in a hat to tell their own stories of connection (in four minutes or less). The theme of the event is “Stories that Connect Us,” said Princeton resident Kathryn Weidener, president of the New Jersey Storytelling Network.
“A professional storyteller is someone who, while not reading a story [aloud], has done a great deal of reading and listening,” she said. “They can weave a story through their own brain, and tell it in a way that engages the audience. It’s more than something just written on a page. It’s told to an audience, and it creates a back-and-forth.”
The festival has been around for more than two decades. Previous locations have included the Grounds For Sculpture, Howell Farm, Waterloo Village, and Allaire State Park. This year’s event was originally planned for Howell Farm, but due to COVID-19 restrictions was relocated to Community Park, where it will be held concert-style.
Among those who will “tell” are Princeton resident Maria LoBiondo, whose specialty is folk and fairy tales.
“I feel that these tales have been passed down for generations, and hold the wisdom of generations of people,” she said. “No matter how old you are or where you live, you have to deal with sibling rivalry. You have to deal with going out into the world to find your fortune. You have to deal with what it means to be generous and kind. These folk tales address all of these ideas. It just fascinates me. It’s worldwide. These stories are from every continent, and they hit similar themes. I find that very compelling.” more