Liar, Liar. . .Here Have An Award!

Liar, Liar. . .Here Have An Award!

Tonight is our annual Liar’s Competition, held at the Orem Public Library and it’s free to the public. The youth competition begins at 6:00 pm and the adult competition starts at 7:00 pm. If you’ve never been to one, you really ought to check it out. They are really entertaining. Our guest blogger, Rodney Bliss is a former MC tells you what to expect.

Just Believe Liars Logo

April 2, 2014


April 1st is a day for pranks and gags. It’s also the time of year that brings out the liars. I had the opportunity on Monday night to be the emcee for Utah’s Biggest Liars competition. It’s part of the world famous Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. (I know that Monday was actually March 31, but scheduling impacts our little event.)

The Liar’s Contest celebrates the tall tales. We heard from eight adult liars. . .although they are referred to as “tellers” in storytelling vernacular.

I’ve been involved with this competition for the past 3 years. It’s one of my favorite events of the year. You might think it would be simple to tell a lie, but to win a competition like this you need to understand the format and also be entertaining. The tellers are judged on 5 criteria.

Technique: How well did the teller use the stage and mic, voice inflection, body language?

Story Development: It has to actually be a lie. The best tellers start with something completely ordinary and take you quickly into the realm of the absurd.

Originality: It has to be an original story

Effectiveness: How well did the crowd respond?

Time Limit: They have to do all of that in 6 minutes or less.

The winning story, told by George McEwan started with him flying a plane from Salt Lake to Idaho. He soon hit a thermal and got stuck. Then, while sitting on the wing eating his lunch, a flock of eagles show up and manage to spin his plane so hard his milk turns to butter. Then, the seagulls show up and after that it gets weird.

We also have a youth competition. This year, our youngest teller was 5 years old. I’m not sure I could talk when I was five. She won the Crowd favorite award. Our oldest youth teller was 13.

In addition to a cool t-shirt, winners get a family pass to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in August, and a certificate. The winner gets bragging rights and a golden shovel. We never really explained why we give the biggest liar a shovel.

There’s no real business tie in for this post. I suppose I should remind you that lying at work is a really bad idea. However, lying in public can sometimes win you fame and a golden shovel.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

Festival Tips for 2015

Festival Tips for 2015

Timpchat- Scera

Here are some tips to help you get most out of your 2015 Timpanogos Storytelling Festival experience.

  1. Take a look at the program, website and blog to find out more information about the tellers and to plan your schedule for the weekend.
  2. Attend one of our FREE pre-festival concerts to get a preview of our amazing lineup of talented tellers and to introduce your family and friends to see what the festival has to offer. Antonio SacEB_0721-1bre & Tim Lowry present a Night of Stories at the Viridian Event Center on August 31, and Bill Harley and Sam Payne will be performing at Timpanogos Storytelling Festival Kickoff at The Shops at Riverwoods on September 2.
  3. Take a look at our amazing lineup of classes at the Timpanogos Storytelling Conference on Wednesday and Thursday, September 2-3.
  4. Check out Look Who’s Talking on Thursday night to get a preview of the storytellers and find a new favorite or two.
  5. Parents- The festival is aimed at adults, teens and older children. Younger children will enjoy Bedtime Stories and events in the puppet area. Toddlers and babies in arms are not allowed in the performance tents, so please make the proper arrangements.
  6. If you have ever wanted to try your hand at storytelling in front of an appreciative audience then you should go to the Adult Swappin’ Grounds or Youth Swappin’ Grounds during the lunch break on Friday and Saturday.
  7. Be a judge and find great new tellers at the Timp Tell Contest on Friday afternoon in the Canyon Vista tent.
  8. Win free great prizes through our social media contest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram contest.
  9. Do you love live music? Stop in at the music tent between sessions to listen to an incredible variety of musical talent. If you love jazz, bluegrass, celtic, polka, folk, classic country, or rock’n’roll, you will find it here.David and Carol Sharp
  10. Parking is limited at Mt. Timpanogos Park, so use one of the designated church parking lots. The shuttle service is fast and efficient and you get dropped off right at the entrance.
  11. Performers feed off the energy of an audience, so relax and feel free to laugh out loud, sigh, gasp, cry, clap, and participate. After all, this is not a golf match.
  12. We’re always looking for volunteers before, during and after the festival. Timpanogos Storytelling Institute has a year-round program and there are many ways you can get involved.
  13. If you have additional tips for festival-goers, please free to leave comments below.
Hauntings – What can we learn from a good scary story?

Hauntings – What can we learn from a good scary story?

Timpchat- HauntingsCan you think of the first really scary story that you heard? Perhaps it was a ghost story at a sleepover, or an urban legend around a campfire. Do you remember how you felt? If you are like me, you probably felt fear and excitement simultaneously. What is it that draws us to these stories? Is it just the adrenaline rush, or is there something we can learn about ourselves in these dark corners?

Tonight is the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival’s Hauntings Storytelling Competition and I can’t think of a better way to treat yourself this Halloween than with some spine-tingling stories. Forget those gory slasher movies, give me a good old-fashioned cerebral scare any day.

Here are a few things that we can learn from a good scary story:

1. Dragons do exist, but they can be defeated. This applies to monsters, demons as well. If we have the courage to find their weaknesses, we can prevail.

2. Stories can be scary but predictable, which life rarely is. Like a roller-coaster ride, there is anticipation, drama, a predictable climax and then the satisfying conclusion. For the adrenaline junkie, it is a safe thrill.

3. Often, scary folklore is created by cultures to warn people against bad behavior. Think of the ghost stories in which someone returns from the dead to settle unfinished business because they did something wrong in life or someone did something to them. Think of the scary fairytales warning children to stay away from strangers or not to go into the woods alone. When these stories were originally published children were often facing very real and perilous dangers every day. There are real dangers today that we must be on the watch for.

4. We can gain a sense of control over our own demons and monsters when we take the time to stare them down.

5. We stumble into closeness when sharing a good scare with someone else. The shared screams, gasps, and nervous laughter cause us to cling to one another and remind us that we really aren’t alone.

Contemporary myths, urban legends, ghost stories, folklore and fairytales can not only provide us with entertainment but with insight as well. A good scary story will take you to dark places in order to enlighten you. Whatever it is that draws you in, surrender yourself and come to the Haunting’s Storytelling Competition on Monday at 7 pm at the Orem Library. It’s free, it’s frightening,  it’s fun and you might just learn something about yourself.

Haunting Contest 2014

Haunting Contest 2014


Encounter at the Library – Part Two

Encounter at the Library – Part Two

Facebook Hauntings Contest FinaleI tried to warn them, but they came anyway, all 24 contestants came and told their scary stories during the preliminary round. All seemed to be going well; no sign of danger anywhere. The stories were creative and fantastic. The judges and I agreed that time was flying by and we were entertained as was the audience. Then we heard a rushing sound coming from the north side of the room as the giant mass of red goo swept through the Storytelling Wing of the Orem Public Library like a flash flood. What was I supposed to do? I had no weapons? It’s not like I had time to call a chemist or biology teacher to find out what I could use to dissolve a giant gelatinous amoeba.


It took them, it took them all. It took all of the contestants and then smashed out the south door. I just watched helplessly as they disappeared. I should have done my homework to protect them; but now it was too late. Wait! It didn’t take them all! I could see nine contestants still standing. They were marked with red stains across their faces that said, “Scary”. That’s it! Their stories were scary enough to scare the monster away!


Ryan Bell

Steve Gashler

Ginger Parkinson

Adam Broud

Hannah Dunaway

Vance Mellen

Daniel Bishop

Teresa Gashler

David Bullock


All of these were spooky enough to ward off the ooze. I’d better follow the slime trail and see if I can tell the others the secret of how to save themselves.


(note: Adam Ashton had previously qualified for the final round but has gone missing under some very mysterious and slimy circumstances.)

If you missed it: Encounter at the Library pt. 1

Scary Stories with Timpanogos

Scary Stories with Timpanogos


Facebook Hauntings ContestWith the temperatures (finally!) starting to creep slowly down the thermometer, my thoughts are increasingly turning toward my very favorite season: fall. With sweaters, hot chocolate, all things pumpkin flavored, leaves changing colors, crisp air, boots, soup, and football, what is not to love about this season?


And with Halloween just around the corner (as the local grocery store is going through great pains to remind me), fall also just happens to be the time of year that my entertainment choices also start getting creepier.


From books—I’ve got two books sitting on my nightstand and both have the word poison in the titles—to movies—Wait Until Dark with Audrey Hepburn, anyone?—I am looking for a bit of spine tingling fun. Not too much of a spine tingle, mind you, since I do want to sleep at night. I just want something deliciously creepy, if you know what I mean.


Well, if you feel the same, Timpanogos Storytelling has one more thing to add to your fall must-do list: Hauntings, a brand new competition for scary stories! Whether you are interested in participating as a storyteller or just need a good scare, we have you covered this year.


Up first is the audition on Saturday, September 28 from 10‑2 pm. If you have a great spooky tale for us, or know someone who does, you can download our registration form online and take it in to the Orem Public Library to pay the $5 registration fee. You will then be contacted with a specific time slot.


Interested in a bit more information? Here you go:


There will be no separate divisions for youth and adults, but youth ages 12 and older are welcome to compete (and judging by our Liar’s Contest, the youth in this area can bring it!) Your story should be no longer than 10 minutes and should be spooky but not gratuitously violent or gory. We are recommending an audience age of 12+ so keep that in mind as you craft your stories (as in, we are looking to be scared and are warning our audiences to leave the littles at home).


Once the auditions are complete, the general public is invited to attend the finals of the Contest to be held Monday, October 28 at 7 pm at the Orem Public Library—don’t worry we’ll talk more about this next month!


More information on both events can be found under the events portion of our website.