5th annual Tellebration celebrates the spoken word

CRYSTAL LAKE – Tall tales and short stories were the stars of Saturday’s fifth annual Tellebration Celebration.

Residents from McHenry County filed into the Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake to lose themselves in international folklore.

The event was presented by the McHenry County Conservation District and McHenry County Storytelling Guild.

“The Tellebration Celebration has become an international event of storytelling tradition that takes place the Saturday before Thanksgiving,” MCCD education program coordinator Andy Talley said. “Storytelling has died off as we’ve become more accustomed to electronic forms of entertainment.”

A cast of six storytellers provided the entertainment for the evening, regaling attendees with stories from all over the world.

Nancy Neckermann of Antioch kicked off the evening with the telling of “The Magic Pot” by Lily Toy Hong. The story follows an ax man who finds a magic pot that doubles anything that is put inside.

Fellow storyteller Ben Rosenfield of Woodstock got attendees barking like dogs and quacking like ducks with his interactive telling of the Russian-Jewish folktale “It Could Always Be Worse.”

“I knew that there would be a good amount of kids in the audience, and I wanted them to have an opportunity to be a part of it,” Rosenfield said. “Storytelling draws from experiences that will unite generations. The stories define you as a family and every family has their stories.”

Six-year-old twins Hunter and Miles Purvin of Crystal Lake played the parts of the duck and the crying baby in Rosenfield’s rendition.

“We’re trying to teach them diversity and to respect other cultures and ways of life,” said his mother, Jill Purvin.

Hunter admitted that he was skeptical about the event because he is more geared toward stories filled with action and heroism.

“I like Power Ranger stories and superheroes,” he said.

The evening continued with stories from Joann Knaack, Carol Waxenberg, Jerry Martin and Talley.

“We all learn through stories, and everyone has stories to tell,” Knaack said.

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