The 4th of July has come and gone, but not without fond memories, particularly since I was able to perform at two of favorite places - the Elijah Iles House and Clayville.
Friday night, though warm, was a perfect evening for the Elijah Iles House' Strawberry Festival, and allowed them to have most everything outdoors. After I changed into my civil war era dress I was shown a rocking chair in the children's tent, with a oriental rug laid out for comfortable games of marbles, which they had set up impressive playing boards for. (Though I was quite surprised to find how few children actually know how to play marbles!)
On the table they had an array of 19th century wooden toys - Jacob Ladders, and tops, and hoops, and ball and cup. It was a delight to see not only the children fascinated, but the parents too. The Ball and cup seemed to be the challenge of the day.
The young lady in charge of the table pretty much had to learn on the cuff how to work the toys, but she got into the spirit of the evening quite quickly.
As for storytelling - it was a rewarding evening. While the children wore themselves out some of the adults would wander through, and would listen. Once gentleman thanked me and said he wish his two grown daughters were in the country to hear the tales.
Later, as the food was eaten, and the sky was shading to evening the children settled to hear the tales; along with some parents. One little girl, and another little boy, happily kept begging for more stories (which did my heart good), and we pretty much closed the festival.
The best words I could have heard was from one little girl, "I want to hear you again."
Not only was the evening rewarding for a storyteller - it was a magical evening. I watched as people slowed down, and chatted together over dinner. Then came to play ring toss with their children, and got down to play marbles. Even if they were making up the game - they had grand fun. It was truly a evening of community spirit!
The next day my friend, Amanda, and I drove out to Clayville for their 4th of July Celebration. The day was much warmer, and more humid, but mercifully that didn't lessen anyone's enthusiasm.
I was shown to the same cabin I had performed in for the Spring festival; the Battenington Cabin.
This time the main focus of the celebration was the car show so many of the people were there for the car show, and didn't really linger for tales. But it was still a great day. Many a person wandered in with their own tales and memories of Clayville's past.
I am a Springfield, IL based storyteller with a fascination for how folklore travels, and for history.