The Teton Story Telling and Arts Festival is coming to the Romance Theater and Center St. in Rexburg next weekend.
The festival is Aug. 9-11 with events beginning at 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. In the evening at 7:30 p.m. some special VIP ticketed events are available to hear longer sets for $8.
“This is our first year having it where it needs to be, and we are really excited about it,” said Jackie Rawlins, the cultural arts director for the city of Rexburg.
The festival has shared dates with other events in years past, but this year they are operating solo.
Storytellers are coming from all over the country. Some of the main headliners include Michael Reno Harrell, Kim Weitkamp, Sam Payne and Bill Lepp.
“To see this quality of tellers up close and personal like this, you have to travel to Timpanogos Storytelling, in Lehi, Utah, and you have to pay 100-and-something dollars for two days’ worth of telling,” Rawlins said.
Rawlins shared that the city of Rexburg wanted to find events that served the diverse population in the area and were brainstorming to find an activity that wouldn't be age specific.
“As culture arts director, I went out in the community and talked to people and one of the things that they wanted was a community event during the break,” Rawlins said.
With BYU-Idaho having a summer break, no students attend class on-campus. Rexburg’s population takes a dip for the seven-week break. This causes businesses to wait to schedule events until the students return in September.
After Rawlins got her feedback, she said she wanted to find an event that could cater to all ages for the maximum impact.
“We came up with the storytelling event because it is family-friendly and you can attend it as a whole group, as a family, as a retired couple, as a married couple, or as date,” Rawlins said.
Sunday evening is the last day of the festival and it includes the tradition of a free night of sacred stories and music. Clive Romney and Sam Payne will present their sets starting at 6 p.m.
“That is open to everyone, it is not an LDS event,” said Rawlins. “We let people know that from the beginning, it is non-denominational and we just want people to be there,”
Free day performances and vendors will be out on Friday and Saturday with only the Sacred Stories and Music Performance on Sunday to close out the weekend.
“This is the perfect fit for our community with the vast age group and community that we have,” Rawlins said.
There will also be local artists with booths and vendors to enjoy and purchase from along Center St. More information is available at tetonstorytelling.org for show times, and schedules for performers.