Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lattitudes Storytelling Festival 2012

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Lattitudes Storytelling Festival in Kitchener. I thought I'd pause for a moment to share my experience there. The festival was held downtown at Victoria Park.

Upon arriving we walked down the path to where we could see all the tents. The multicultural festival was on right beside it and so we thought we might have to walk through all those tents to get to it. It turns out we came in to the park at the perfect entrance because the first thing we saw was this sign:

Before we went to sit down in the tents we saw there were these cute paper machiere animals in the trees and took a moment to look and to show our daughter. There was a gorilla hanging from a tree, a squid, and a baby elephant and they were really cute.

Then we found out there were two tents - one for children and one for adults. The children's tent had a huge pile of pillows for the children to sit on and chairs for the adults. The adult's tent was set up like a cafe with table and chairs and right next to it there was even a little table where you could pick up some coffee if you wanted.

We decided to go to the children's tent first and it turns out we got there just when storyteller Deb Llyod arrived (she was actually late so this was great timing). Here's a picture of her as she sat down to tell her story:

Deb Llyod was an amazing storyteller who used pantomime and her voice to really add a lot to the tale. The story was a tall tale about a group of kids who decide to have a balloon blowing contest and end up blowing up that balloon so much that it takes them all into the sky on a scary ride.

Afterwards she taught the children what pantomime was and how to pretend you are blowing up a balloon. I was surprised to see my daughter following along, mainly because she's only three, but her instructions were very clear and she made it into a fun activity.

Afterwards my daughter got a pin from Deb that says "I love your smile." It was really quite good and if I see Deb is at anything else, I will definitely take my daughter back to see her.

Then I went to the adult tent by myself while my husband stayed with my daughter in the children's tent.

I saw a woman named Brenda Byers (pictured below)

She told a story about two women who had to pretend they were men, ended up being pirates, then got out of being killed by their pirate foes by proving they were women (ie. "baring their breasts). Afterwards she played a song which I think was inspired by the story. I arrived late to this one so unfortunately I didn't understand everything in the story which was a shame.

Then the last person I saw was  Carol Leigh Wehking (pictured below)

She told parts of the story of Holes by Louis Sachar, mainly the historical fiction part of the book. By the time she got halfway through the story though I was getting tired and I saw my family coming looking for me so I ended up leaving then. Holes is one of my favourite movies so I was excited to see her telling part of the tale but that also meant there wasn't really anything for me to stay for. She had a nice voice and if it was a new to me story I know I would have stayed.

Both of these ladies were lovely storytellers and I was glad to get a taste of what they do.

After that we decided to take a look at Kitchener Public Library's bookmobile:

It turns out that inside that huge trailer was just a bunch of computers with the KPL catalogue and tv screens of a woman teaching how to use the ebook downloading program. Both me and my husband agreed that it seemed a waste of money to buy a truck, outfit it with hardwood floors and flatscreen tvs for just one thing. It would have been much more interesting if it was also a traditional bookmobile.

We ended up looking around the KW Multicultural Festival for a while but found that the majority of tents were just vendors, politicians, or religious sects. There were a few areas for events but we didn't feel like waiting around for them to start.

We went back to the Lattitudes Storytelling Festival to do a craft (there was a craft tent set up) and guess what? We ended up in a parade. I kid you not...the leader was a giant gnome. The kids parade with costumes went down into the Multicultural Festival and we turned a lot of heads. A lot people stopped what they were doing to take pictures. It was a lot of fun!

I can't wait to go back next year and I recommend if you are in the area to look for the festival. It was free (donations were welcome) and the organizers did a wonderful job. It was very kid friendly so if you have kids it is a great place to go.


  1. We went to the event too. Mikey fell asleep just as we arrived, so he missed the parade and getting dressed up. We wandered for a while, then went to the children's tent once Mikey woke up. There were 2 ladies telling stories (didn't catch names). Mikey had a blast, and kept asking for 5 more minutes.

    I agree that the digital bookmobile wasn't much fun. I don't know what I expected from it, but I did expect something more.

    1. I wish I would have seen you! I guess we missed each other. I'm glad Mikey had fun but too bad he missed the parade. I found the children's tent was so good. I think I had almost as much fun listening to the stories as the children did.


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