From left, the storytelling acts lined up for this year's festival are Donna Tillman, Jess Willis, Science Tellers and No Sleeves Magic. (Contributed photos)

Summertime...and the yarn-spinning is easy.

Four of the best storytelling acts from the East Coast will converge in Carteret County soon for the 16th annual Storytelling Festival.

Scheduled for consecutive Wednesdays in July, performances take place at 10 a.m. at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City, with an encore presentation 2 p.m. at Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Bogue.

“We invite anyone who is interested in listening to first-rate storytellers that come from all over the East Coast and as far away as New York City and Ohio,” festival organizer Brita Flynn of the Bogue Banks Public Library said. “Groups that come from local daycare centers and summer camps range in age from kindergarten to grades 5 and 6, but we also have multi-age families and many walk-ins.

“We schedule the festival during the summer when school is out and camps and groups are in session and looking for something to do. It goes hand-in-hand with the Summer Reading Program, and libraries are always looking for ways to bridge the summer reading gap,” she added.

A total of 1,907 people attended last year’s festival.

Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend any and all sessions. The schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, July 10

 Donna Tillman from Greenville, S.C., thrills audiences with her dynamic style and love for stories and literature. She has appeared at storytelling festivals around the country and throughout the world.

One familiar comment from audiences is, “I could visualize every story as if I was watching it in person.”

Wednesday, July 17

Jess Willis from Florence, S.C., is a self-described “storyteller at heart.” She believes that no matter our age, we all need stories.

From folk and family yarns to “fractured” fairytales to personal foibles, all are fair game in her voluminous book of tales.

She also believes in being engaged with her community and works part time with the Ovis Hill organic farm. She builds her own puppets from recycled materials and hosts a monthly storytelling event, “Story Swap.” 

Wednesday, July 24

Science Tellers, from Hillsborough, N.J., ask the question, “What happens when science and storytelling mix?”

The audience can find out when elements of scientific experimentation and the art of the tale are combined in this unique theatrical experience.

According to the group’s website, “For most kids, the show will be a healthy mixture of family concepts and material within the fields of physics and chemistry.”

Wednesday, July 31

No Sleeves Magic is from Wilmington. With nothing up their sleeves but a magical imagination, Michael Rosander and his troupe inspire children of all ages with a theatrical storytelling experience.

No Sleeves Magic was founded on the love for children and the desire to encourage them to express their unique individuality.

Many elements of magic incorporate science and math, which makes performing illusions educational and entertaining.

The group was voted “Best Family Entertainer” for eight consecutive years by Wilmington Parent Magazine.

The Storytelling Festival originated in 2003 with librarians telling stories at different locations.

The next year, children’s librarians Sara Barbee and Betty Kirkland helped to organize the event with paid storytellers.

Librarians at the Carteret County Public Library, the Western Carteret and Bogue Banks branches helped select the tellers and man the shows.

The festival bounced around various venues – including the Crystal Coast Civic Center, the N.C. Maritime Museum, the History Museum of Carteret and even a school gymnasium – before officials chose the present civic center and Bethlehem United Methodist Church locations.

Ms. Flynn said she came along in 2005 and currently chooses participating performers by attending various other storytelling events, through suggestions from other tellers and social media.

“All along, we have been generously supported by the Friends of Bogue Banks Public Library, the Friends of the Carteret County Public Library and the Friends of the Western Carteret Public Library,” she said. “And in recent years, we have also received support from the Beaufort Inn. When scheduling, lately I’ve had more local North Carolina performers come, mindful of keeping our costs down and making it more affordable for the Friends groups that do so much for all the libraries.”

For more information, visit or call the Bogue Banks Public Library at 252-247-4660.

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