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Individual tickets available Oct. 1 for Sandbar Storytelling Festival

September 28, 2022

Press releases

The first ever storytelling festival in Minnesota will kick off on Oct. 14-15! The inaugural “Sandbar Storytelling Festival” (SSF) will be presented on the Winona Campus of Saint Mary’s University! Five national and international storytellers will be presenting. At the Friday night “Ghost Stories Concert,” be prepared to be totally spooked, and at the Saturday night concert “Fun Night,” the five tellers will make you roll in your seats with laughter!

Friday afternoon, beginning at 2:30 p.m., and Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. storytelling events will run throughout the day. Festival activities also include a storytelling competition for college students, workshops by Bil Lepp and Alton Takiyama-Chung, and a storytelling session for kids (ages 9 to 14) with Regi Carpenter. Also featured are local musicians and food trucks.

The purpose of SSF is to present storytelling performances that celebrate and preserve the power and pleasure of our varied cultural traditions and human experiences, and to promote the art of storytelling for all ages. This year’s five ‘Tellers’ include Bil Lepp (from West Virginia), Carolina Quiroga-Stoltz (from Tennessee via Colombia), the Rev. Robert Jones, Sr. (from Detroit, Mich.), Alton Takiyama-Chung (from Vancouver, Wash. via Hawaii), and Regi Carpenter (of Ithaca, N.Y.). These five tellers are also presenting at area schools on Thursday and Friday morning.

Festival events include:

Day 1 Friday, Oct.14 – Afternoon and Evening
2:30 p.m. – Storytellers: Bil Lepp and Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, Page Theater
4 p.m. – Storytellers: the Rev. Robert Jones, Sr., Regi Carpenter, and Alton Takiyama-Chung, Page Theater
5 p.m. – Little Warriors Drumline, Gazebo (free event)
5:30 p.m. – Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting, Page Theatre (free event)
6 p.m. – Mettalarks (Mariah Ciangiola and Noah Short) perform Halloween music, Page Theater
7 p.m. – Ghost Night (all five storytellers), Page Theater

Day 2 Saturday, Oct. 15 – Morning, Afternoon, and Evening
9 a.m. – “Creating Tall-Tales,” workshop by Bil Lepp, Blue Heron Coffeehouse (free, but limited seating)
9 a.m. – “A Story Walks into a Cafe: Sparking Creativity” workshop by Alton Takiyama-Chung, Blooming Grounds Coffee House (free but limited seating)
10 a.m. – Storytellers: Regi Carpenter and Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, Page Theater
11 a.m. – Storytellers: Bil Lepp and Alton Takiyama-Chung, Page Theater
1 p.m. – Storyteller: the Rev. Robert Jones, Sr., Page Theater
1 p.m. – Regi Carpenter, Kids Session (9 – 14 years old), Figliulo Recital Hall (free event)
2:30 p.m. – Storytellers: Alton Takiyama-Chung and Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, Page Theater
4 p.m. – Storytellers: Bil Lepp and Regi Carpenter, Page Theater
5 p.m. – Bell House Band, Gazebo (free event)
5:30 p.m. – Koo Koo Kanga Roo (kids party band), Winona Middle School Auditorium (separate fee)
5:45 p.m. – Wing Dam Jammers, Gazebo (free event)
7 p.m. – Fun Night (winner of the college competition and all five storytellers), Page Theater

Worldwide, people continue to share stories when bringing in the harvest, celebrating weddings, funerals, and tribal gatherings, and sitting around fires, sharing and reflecting on humankind’s profound connections. Listening to a well told story is a wonderful source of entertainment, as well as a way to understand people who are different from us. Telling stories is one of the most powerful tools any teacher or leader possesses to educate and inspire others. While sharing stories, we engage our communities in active listening and mutual storytelling. In our modern world, not only are our stories still shared around the campfire, they often appear in our digital media as well. Visiting a local hardware store recently, there were 20 different fire rings for sale! The tradition still continues as the best stories are told around backyard fire circles and campfires with friends and neighbors.

So that the art of storytelling won’t be lost, we intend to promote it and rekindle that human connection. Our lives are intertwined with stories, and we need to share them and listen to others to help us understand the world around us. Sharing stories today is as important as it was in ancient times. The story is much more powerfully told in person than hearing it through the media. The teller can share a range of emotions that can greatly add to the delivery. We are just getting started! Come join us, enjoy each other’s company, laugh, and have some fun!

Individual tickets go on sale Oct. 1. Each event in the Page Theatre is $15 for any age and can be purchased at the door or from the website at Also available for purchase is the Friday Pass (4 events) for $50, the Saturday Pass (6 events) for $80, and the Two Day pass (all 10 events) for $120. Koo Koo Kanga Roo tickets (performing at the Winona Middle School) are still available as well (adults, $15; kids ages 5-16, $5; and children younger than 5, free). AND, courtesy of WNB Financial, pay-as-you-can tickets will be available at the door 20 minutes prior to each event.

For more information, email,, or call 507- 703-6001.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.