New StoryFest event to celebrate magic of storytelling, highlight library resources

Storytelling in all of its ever-changing forms has brought humanity together for centuries, from ancient paintings on cave walls to the vast expanse of digital media available at our fingertips today.

In an effort to foster a deeper appreciation for creative expression, the Morgantown Public Library System presents StoryFest, a new event dedicated to bringing the community together through the magic of storytelling.

StoryFest will be from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. April 13 at the Spruce Street Pavilion, 400 Spruce St. and the Morgantown Public Library, 373 Spruce St.

Storytelling serves as a gateway to education, connection and self-expression for individuals of all walks of life — all values highlighted by the library system year-round and at StoryFest.

Event organizer and library clerk Abby Cyphert said StoryFest blossomed from a desire to showcase the library system’s diverse range of frequent activities and events such as craft nights and story times on a greater scale. 

“I think that at our core, our whole goal is to bring the community together through all the different kinds of storytelling,” said Cyphert. “It’s a place where you can come and be yourself no matter who you are and have fun all day. I’m looking forward to showing off everything that the library is now.”

The festivities kick off with an energizing group stretch led by Umbrella Arts, setting the stage for a day of entertainment and imagination. Storytimes, a lightsaber demonstration and a drawing workshop fill the activity schedule, while the rest of the festival will offer games, crafting stations for all ages, tarot card readings, opportunities to meet Miss West Virginia, carnival-style food by Mag & Pops food truck and more. The lineup of local creative vendors will include authors Michael Strayer, Linda Gribko, Ashley Belote, Patricia Harman and artists Liz Pavlovic and Angela Awesome Pants.

Attendees are also encouraged to dress up as their favorite fictional character.

Special guest Miss West Virginia Karrington Childress’ platform promotes literacy among young West Virginians, a topic the library also highlights with weekly storytimes and programs for young readers. Beyond reading, though, the library and StoryFest aim to nurture creativity. By including children in the age-old traditions of storytelling, whether that be writing, imagining a fictional character or creating artwork, both an appreciator of stories and a teller of stories is created.

A day dedicated to community, StoryFest is built upon the efforts and collaboration of various local groups, artists and entrepreneurs — many of whom are patrons of the library system and eager to support its efforts. 

“It sounds like a lot to take on, but our community is so excited about things like this and excited to help with it that it actually fell into place so easily,” said Cyphert. “We’re very lucky.”

StoryFest invites attendees of all backgrounds and offers something for everyone to enjoy, whether that be patronizing the library, enjoying delicious food, savoring a lively spring day, appreciating local artists or creating art of your own. Although each library location regularly offers opportunities for the community to come together over shared interests, StoryFest presents a unique space to bond with fellow bookworms and artists.

“I think what’s fun about the event is that you’re going to be around all of these fellow bookworms and library users, and you’ll hear about the kind of things that they like and get to talk about the things that you’ll like,” said Cyphert. “Just getting to get together as a community and hang out with each other and see what we all like that may be similar.”

With the exception of food and art vendors, all activities at StoryFest are free and open to the public. This downtown festival aims to become an annual event.

Other branches in the library system are Arnettsville Public Library, 4120 Fairmont Road; Cheat Area Public Library, 121 Crosby Road; Clay-Battelle Public Library, 6059 Mason-Dixon Highway,
Blacksville; Clinton District Public Library, 2005 Grafton Road; and the Aull Center, 351 Spruce St.

Other upcoming Morgantown Public Library System events include a Lego night, storytimes, a yarn arts club, book clubs, movie nights and more. Visit mympls.org for more information.