Telling the story

Published 10:46 pm Saturday, October 8, 2011

For 32 years, hundreds of tales have been swapped during Selma’s Tale-Tellin Festival and beginning Friday, Oct. 14 and Oct. 15 the annual event will offer something new.

In its first year without storytelling icon the late Kathryn Tucker Windham, the festival will honor Windham’s contributions through songs, storytellers she handpicked and music from Windham’s favorite band, The Dill Pickers.

Sponsored by ArtsRevive, the 33rd annual festival offers a new location, new menus and a comb concert made famous by Windham.

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ArtsRevive president Fran Pearce said this year’s planners and performers are excited about the upcoming event.

“The big thing is the new location, the Carneal building,” Pearce said. “We believe it will be more intimate. We will have the book “She,” (Windham’s last book), it will be available … the playing of combs hasn’t been done before …  it’s a new thing that we will do from now on.”

With the combs inscribed with Windham’s words, “Making music together in Selma, Alabama,” and different performances each night, Pearce said the ArtsRevive committee wanted the new venue to make Windham proud.

“We’re working really hard to do it in a way that will make Kathryn smile … it’s a heavy task on our hearts,” Pearce said. “We just adored her … we want to do things in a way that would please her.”

The event will begin at 7 p.m. Swappin grounds will be open at 5:30 p.m. and anyone with a story is encouraged to participate. Prichard native Wanda Johnson and Kentucky native Anndrena Belcher will perform. Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. and will include hot dogs and Lannie’s barbecue.

Pearce said the event could not be possible without the efforts of Ann Thomas, the event chair.

“Ann is doing a great job,” Pearce said. “It wouldn’t be happening without her.”

Thomas said in a previous interview with the Times-Journal that it’s important to remember Windham, who emphasized the importance of communicating with one another.

“I think when we tell our stories we have more in common than differences,” Thomas said. “She (Kathryn) was so gracious and kind … we’ll celebrate her legacy with the theme, ‘she’s not lost because we remember.’”

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and can be purchased from the Selma-Dallas County Center for Commerce, Selma-Dallas County Public Library, Truax & Co. or by calling 878-ARTS. ArtsRevive members encourage the public to buy tickets in advance.
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