Once Upon a Time, In a Land Not Too Far Away…

By Emma Paulini- 12th Grade, Fox Chapel Area High School

“Tell me a story!” IMG_0071 2

Since the beginning of time, young and old have enjoyed sharing and being delighted by tales.  Once a year in Pittsburgh, storytellers and listeners from all around the United States gather to celebrate the power of the spoken word at the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival. This year’s event ran the weekend of August 5-7, featuring a children’s story time concert, live music, a liar’s contest, ghost story telling, and more. The activities and performances took place at the main Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Schenley Plaza across the green.

Antonio Sacre engages with the audience, presenting his story.

Antonio Sacre engages with the audience, presenting his story.

In its sixteenth season, the festival encourages community bonding, laughter, and learning as people come together to share or listen to this spoken-word art. For example, youngsters and families attended the Youth Storytelling Concert, in which award-winning tellers tickled the audience with their entertaining yet lesson-filled narratives. At points during the concert, storytellers encouraged the children to talk together about their favorite parts of their day and other similar anecdotes, demonstrating that through simple conversation comes meaningful moments of connection — anyone can amuse another and become a storyteller themselves. Storyteller Antonio Sacre, bilingual in Spanish and English, promoted acceptance among the young listeners, for example, when he asked whether some of those in the audience spoke more than one language. He received some unexpected though gratifying answers, including, “I speak music,” as one child remarked.

Adam Booth shares his folklore.

Adam Booth shares his folklore.



Other performers, such as Adam Booth, brought Appalachian flair to the festival as they blended folklore and music stemming from the region, sharing Pittsburgh’s local history and culture in an intriguing fashion. Attendees at the event joined others of diverse backgrounds and walks of life to revel in this timeless form of entertainment. No matter where someone comes from or where he or she may go, most anyone loves a good story, a wonderful experience one can certainly savor while attending the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival.






Emma-Use This OneEmma Paulini is a senior at Fox Chapel Area High School. She is Editor in Chief of her school’s literary arts magazine, and this is her second summer reporting with Pittsburgh Youth Media. Emma loves to dance ballet, sing, cook, and explore the world.

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