Tips for the 2019 Festival

Tips for the 2019 Festival

The 2019 Timpanogos Storytelling Festival officially kicks off next week and we are thrilled to be back at our new site at the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point. As with any new experience and location we have learned a few lessons, but lucky for you that means this year will be better than ever. We’ve tried to think through as many things as possible to give you a few tips that will hopefully help us all to have a wonderful weekend of storytelling.

Tip #1: Parking and Shuttles

The parking is plentiful at Thanksgiving Point and the parking staff is efficient. Guests will be directed to designated parking areas as they arrive at the Ashton Gardens. There will be a second entrance next to the Museum of Natural Curiosity, which will make it easier for guests who are parking in those lots. Patrons using this entrance should have purchased their tickets in advance.

For evening events at The Electric Park Pavilion and The Show Barn, you may park in any available parking stalls near the venues. When exiting, we highly recommend that you head south to access I-15 (rather than north where you will run into traffic exiting the gardens).

Parking in unmarked areas or on the street is not permitted. Carpooling is strongly recommended to help alleviate traffic congestion.

Avoid Traffic by riding UTA and using the free Shuttle
Tickets for the FrontRunner will be available for $3.75 per person per day during the festival. A shuttle will be running from the Lehi FrontRunner Station to the Festival from Thursday evening until Saturday evening.

The Thanksgiving Point Trolley will be running through the parking areas of the festival!

Tip #2: Food

As usual, Utah restaurants will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks at the Festival. This year our vendors will line the rim of the Garden Amphitheater and will include several local restaurants as well as Thanksgiving Point Concessions. Most meals are around $10. In addition to these vendors, you also have the option of having a sit-down lunch or dinner (11:00 am to 7 pm Friday and Saturday) at The Trellis Café located at the Garden Visitor Center. Reservations are recommended for those wishing to eat at The Trellis Café and can be made by calling 801-768-4996.

Music will be available for those wishing to dine in or around the amphitheater, with tables set up just west of the amphitheater for your eating and listening pleasure. A few picnic tables are also available near the Thanksgiving Point concessions. Besides these designated eating areas, there are many beautiful areas in the gardens and we invite you to bring a blanket and enjoy the beauty of our new location. And, of course, you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks into the Gardens.

Concessions (no vendors) will also be available at the Electric Park location for Bedtime Stories and Laughin’ Night.

We anticipate that the traffic between the Ashton Garden’s and the entrance to I-15 will be busy (very, very busy) on Friday between 4pm and 6pm and so we (highly) encourage those coming for the day and staying for the evening to plan on not leaving the Festival site between our day and evening events. Instead, we welcome you to explore the gardens (feed the koi!), visit fanfare, and have a lovely picnic dinner (now easier than ever since you can easily run back to your car and grab a cooler full of your own food).

Tip #3: Bathrooms

We are (perhaps inordinately) excited for the many, many bathrooms available to us during the Festival. There are three bathroom locations (real bathrooms with actual running water!) that you will want to acquaint yourselves with upon arrival. The first (and largest) (and air conditioned) is located in the Garden Visitor Center (the main entrance to the Festival). The second is located along the rim of the Garden Amphitheater at the back of the Thanksgiving Point Concessions. And the third is located just south of the pottery tent.
And this year we have added new portable bathrooms for your added convenience. You can never have too many bathrooms. Am I right?

Tip #4: Amphitheater Seating

The Garden Amphitheater will be used this year for My Favorite Stories on Friday night and as one location of Laughin’ Night on Saturday night. The line for each of these events will start to form at 5 pm at the amphitheater and seating will open at 5:30. Any blankets, chairs, or other materials put out before 5 pm will be removed by Ashton Gardens’ staff before seating opens. Live music will begin at 7 pm.

For everyone’s convenience, the Garden Amphitheater is split into different sections: a blanket area (B), a low back chair area (no taller than 30 inches) (LB), a high back chair area (HB) and reserved seating. Each section will have a designated area that will be clearly marked (see picture below). If attendees are interested in having a chair for the performance, they can bring their own or rent one from Thanksgiving Point for $5. There will also be designated areas for wheelchair seating along the rim of the amphitheater.

Tip #5: Electric Park Seating

This one is an easy one: Electric Park will be chairs only and all chairs will be provided and set up prior to the storytelling.

As noted in the food tip, concessions (but no vendors) will also be available at the Electric Park.

Tip #6: Gates Open

Thursday, September 5:

Registration for the Conference begins at 8:30 am.

Gates open for Look Who’s Talking at 5:00 pm. (Live music begins at 6:00 pm.)

Friday, September 6:

Gates open for daytime events at 9:00 am. (Live music and puppetry performances begin at 9:30 am. Storytelling in the tents begins at 10:00 am.)

The line for My Favorite Stories at the Garden Amphitheater starts to form at 5:00 pm.
Amphitheater seating opens at 5:30 pm. (Live music starts at 7:00 pm with storytelling beginning at 8:00 pm.)

Gates open for Bedtime Stories at The Electric Park Pavilion at 5:30 pm. (A preshow performance starts at 5:45 pm with storytelling beginning at 6:30 pm.)

Gates open for Shivers in the Night at The Show Barn at 8:30 pm with storytelling beginning at 9:00 pm.

Saturday, September 7:

Gates open for daytime events at 9:00 am. (Live music and puppetry performances begin at 9:30 am. Storytelling in the tents begins at 10:00 am.)

The line for Laughin’ Night at the Garden Amphitheater starts to form at 5:00 pm.
Amphitheater seating opens at 5:30 pm. (Live music starts at 7:00 pm with storytelling beginning at 8:00 pm.)

Gates open for Laughin’ Night at The Electric Park Pavilion at 5:30 pm. (Live music starts at 7:00 pm with storytelling beginning at 8:00 pm.)

Tip #7: Miscellaneous

*Need your Festival peaches and ice cream fix? Thanksgiving Point Concessions at the Ashton Gardens is the place to pick up this Festival tradition.

*While average daytime temperatures are 80 F and above, early morning and evenings in the Gardens can be a little chilly so plan accordingly.

*Trying to map out your day and need a schedule and map right now? We have an app for that. You can also find this same map and schedule in the Festival program book, for those who prefer a physical copy. Just click on the bar to your right.

*Golf carts? Of course! Golf carts will be running on back paths from the Garden Visitor Center to the tent areas for those who need assistance.

*Pottery is open from 10:00 am to 11:30 am and 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm on Friday and Saturday. You can sign up at the Pottery tent which is located south of the Rose Garden Tent. The slots fill up fast so be sure to sign up early!

*At the end of the day, consider taking a few minutes to explore the gardens, share a few stories with your friends and family, and just generally let the traffic get moving before you join the throng. This year we will be opening all lanes of traffic at the end of Saturday’s Laughin’ Night to allow for a quicker exit of vehicles from the parking lots near the Amphitheater venue.

*We have an amazing group of volunteers that have made it possible for this Festival to happen for the last 30 years. If you see one of them, give them a smile and a quick thanks. I’m sure they would love it. Remember, patience, kindness and courtesy have been the hallmark of festival goers since it began. Let’s keep that tradition going.

*If you have questions or concerns during the Festival, the fastest way to get ahold of us is to find one of us wearing or a white Timpanogos Storytelling shirt with a lanyard around our necks or through Twitter or Instagram (@TimpFest)..

The Healing Power of Stories- Whole, Broken, Bent or Healing

The Healing Power of Stories- Whole, Broken, Bent or Healing

Timpchat- Timp Reflection With City-XLIn The Healing Power of Stories Daniel Taylor contends that the stories we tell can reshape our characters and add meaning to our lives by reminding us that actions have consequences. Not all stories are created equal and the better stories, he says, “should be truthful, freeing, gracious, and hopeful.” Stories have the power to heal, reenergize, or even harm our psyche depending on their type, of which there are four; whole, bent, broken and healing.

Whole stories portray good as good, evil as evil, and good wins. Most of the classics are in this category and most storytellers spend their time with these types of stories.

Bent stories portray evil as good, good as evil, and evil wins. Examples include many horror stories, pornography,  and even Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Bent stories can trap us and make us feel hopeless about the world in general.

Broken stories portray good as good, and evil as evil, but evil wins. Something is broken, not right, and needs to be fixed. Examples include Lord of the Flies and 1984. These stories, while not uplifting, have the potential to motivate us to heal something broken in the real world.

Healing stories portray good as good, bad as bad and can be either whole or broken stories. In a healing story the listener is profoundly moved, changed, or healed by the experience of hearing or reading the story. The answer to the problem is offered within the story itself, often in the ending.

In the stories that we tell and the stories we seek out we can look for truth as well as hope. This doesn’t mean that we avoid sad or tragic tales because they are seemingly hopeless. Sad, complicated stories can also elevate the listener if we realize that there are more complex ways to responding to them rather than by just simply being happy or sad. If a story can move us beyond our sadness to find empathy, healing, or a call to action then the well-told tale can continue to live on long after the story is over.


Listening Takes Practice- Favorite Storytelling Podcasts

Listening Takes Practice- Favorite Storytelling Podcasts

Timpchat- listening


“There’s a lot of difference between listening and hearing.”
― G.K. Chesterton


Real listening is a skill that takes practice. Developing the habit of listening can improve your relationships, your careers, and even your next experience at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

Alan Alda once said, “Listening is being able to be changed by the other person.”

So, how do we practice listening? How do we move beyond simply hearing something? Real listening is about focus and concentration. Eudory Welty, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Optimist’s Daughter explains, “Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.”

We have a wealth of resources that can help us develop the skill of listening. Here is a list of some of the best that the internet has to offer.

True stories told by ordinary people:

This American Life – This award-winning radio program has one of the most popular podcasts on the internet. There is a theme to each episode and a variety of stories on that theme. Recommended stories- The Super or Switched at Birth.

Serial– A podcast spin-off of This American Life which debuted in October of 2014. Serial tells one story- a true story- over the course of an entire season. The first season is a story about the disappearance of a popular high school senior.

The Moth – “True Stories Told Live.” The live broadcasts originated in New York City but have become popular throughout the country. These are real people telling stories of ordinary life, with extraordinary skill. There is some explicit language in some stories. Recommended story- Fathers.

Story CorpsStoryCorps mission is to collect a vast archive of stories for future generations, to teach the value of listening and that every story matters. Recommended story- Mary Johnson and Oshea Israel, a mother speaking to the young man who murdered her only child.

Snap Judgment – If you love music you might like this new show from NPR which melds music with stories. Recommended story- Mystery Man.

Radiolab– Stories about science, technology, and the human experience. Recommended story- Space.

Literary Stories:

Selected Shorts – This weekly radio broadcast, one of my personal favorites, pairs great literary short stories with fine actors. You can’t go wrong with any of their selections so find the latest free podcast here.

Mercury Theater on the Air – Orson Welles and John Houseman started this radio theater. Their notorious broadcast The War of the Worlds allegedly caused mass panic. Try Three Short Stories: I’m a Fool, The Open Window, and My Little Boy

Classic Storytelling:

The Apple Seed – You’ll find many of your favorite tellers from The Timpanogos Storytelling Festival here. This BYU Radio broadcast offers pure contemporary storytelling at its finest. Recommended story- From Sea to Shining Sea.

Wiretap – This unique broadcast comes to us from CBC Radio One. Jonathan Goldstein brings us stories that are comedic, absurd, unexpected, and wholly engaging. It’s unlike anything I have heard before. Recommended story – Help Me, Doctor, Kafka’s Gregor Samsa seeks professional psychiatric help from Dr. Seuss.

CBS Radio Mystery Theater – I loved listening to this as a young girl when my family would take long car trips.I suspect that my dad drove around a few extra blocks as we hung on to hear the door swing shut just after the host,  E.G. Marshall said, “Until next time… pleasant dreams.” Recommended story- Resident Killer.

Radio programs and podcast episodes aren’t the only way to listen to great audio recordings. Your local library has audiobooks available, often for no cost to download. Recommended story- Harry Potter series narrated by Jim Dale, one of the best in the business.

What are your favorite sources for audio stories? Let us know.

Films that celebrate storytelling

Films that celebrate storytelling

Timpchat- movies

Rev up your appetite for the upcoming Festival with some films that celebrate storytelling. At the end of this article is a list of movies that pay homage to the art of oral storytelling. If you want to find out about upcoming movies and get scholarly with your study of film and storytelling, read on. If you would rather just look through the movie list, skip forward. Either way, enjoy the celebration, and we’ll see you at the Festival!

Story as performance art began with oral storytelling, which is still the most immediate, intimate and communal form of conveying stories. But storytelling has branched out to include many genres such as dance, music, visual art, theater, commercials, video games, and film.  Many of these genres have embraced and celebrated the elements of the traditional story such as the archetypes, story arcs and themes that we see in our fairytales and folktales.

In fact, the film industry has had an obsession with fairytales in the last few years. Not only have we seen animated movies such a “Frozen”, “Tangled”, and “Brave”, but also live-action adaptations such as “Snow White and the Huntsman”, “Mirror Mirror”, and “Maleficent”.  And the trend will continue with films that are in production, including “Into the Woods” starring Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp due out at Christmas, and a new Disney version of “Cinderella” directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter due out in 2015.

While some films adapt familiar fairy tales, others are based on original fairy tales such as   “Shrek”, “How to Train Your Dragon”, “Ladyhawke”, and “Willow.” And others draw upon storytelling motifs. “The Croods” is a retelling of the Greek legend of Prometheus. Arguably, some of our most epic fantasy films such as “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”, and the sci-fi fantasy “Star Wars” draw from elements of fairy tales, folktales, myths and legends. J.R.R. Tolkien once said that “The Hobbit” was inspired by Grimm’s Snow White” (1) and it can be argued that the story is basically a retelling of the Old English poem Beowolf.  “Star Wars”, in turn, draws upon mythological elements such as oracles, prophesies and mentorship.

Not only do many films borrow from classic story elements and archetypes, but many also pay tribute to the art of oral storytelling itself.  In “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” there is an animated sequence where Hermione is reading aloud an old and familiar fairy tale told to wizard children.  While she reads, the scene is brought to life with shadow puppets. This story within a story serves not only to explain the origins of the Deathly Hallows, but is also a stunning reminder of the beauty of story. J.K. Rowling once stated that this folktale was inspired by The Pardoner’s Tale of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.(2 )  In an interview published in the LA Times on January 28, 2011, animation director Ben Hibson explained, “In a moment that takes our central characters to a world of ancient fables, the titular tale of the Three Brothers, found in the book ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard,’ has an eerie undertone, reminiscent of the timeless Grimms’ fairy tales, which I found particularly relevant for us.” (3)

Our tradition of oral storytelling and our literary canon has created the platform in which modern film makers can build their craft. Let’s look at some of the family friendly films that pay homage to this tradition. Perhaps you will find one to peak your interest and get you excited about the Festival coming up at the end of this month.

10 films that celebrate the art of storytelling:

10 films that celebrate classic fairytales and folktales:

Multiple movies based on a single fairy tale:

Is your favorite storytelling movie on the list? Tell us about it.


1 Tolkien, J. R. R. (2003) [1937]. Anderson, Douglas A., ed. The Annotated Hobbit. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-713727-3.


3 Bloomsbury Online Chat, Retrieved 30 July 2014.

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