FARMINGTON—Each year, Farmington celebrates the Four Corners' great heritage of storytelling.

The 12th annual Four Corners Storytelling Festival will begin Oct. 12 at Berg Park.

The two-day event will feature some of the country's most recognized storytellers and provide entertainment for all ages.

"They're all different," said Library Director Karen McPheeters of the featured artists. "We really try to get a variety."

Bill Harley, a singer, songwriter, storyteller, author and playwright, makes regular appearances at the festival. His stories combine humor with realism in chronicles of the lives of children. He is the recipient of numerous national awards and tours as a solo artist and with his band, the Troublemakers.

"His songs get in to your head," McPheeters said. "He's just a great overall entertainer."

Another performer will make her first appearance at the Four Corners Storytelling Festival in about 11 years: Angela Lloyd. She is known as one of the most unique performers on the national storytelling circuit, using a washboard, autoharp, spoon and bell to weave her brand of poetry, story and song.

Her stories are selected from traditional folktales, oral traditions, children's literature, poetry and her personal experience.

Among other performers are Michael Reno Harrel and Barbara McBride-Smith.

The festival will feature the work of four local children: Samantha DeWees, Kaitlyn DeWees, Jacob Kelly and Ben Kelly.


"To me, storytelling is about an experience," McPheeters said. "It's about connections. That's really valuable in today's world."

Oral traditions, such as storytelling, are becoming increasingly uncommon in the digital age; however, the traditions have deep roots in this region.

"Especially in the Four Corners - you had groups that didn't have a written language," said Dr. Kelly Robison, professor of history at San Juan College.

Researchers began writing down oral histories in the late 1800s, part of a process known as salvage anthropology. This process, however, was not known for its accuracy. In order to best keep the stories alive, they have to be spoken. These stories, in turn, form part of our greater cultural experience.

"We are our stories," McPheeters said. "That's what's great about storytelling."