StoryFest IV will Feature Four Renowned Local Storytellers May 19

Four well-known local storytellers will headline this year’s StoryFest, an annual storytelling event held in honor of the late Syracuse educator Ted Grace.

StoryFest IV: A Family Storytelling Event will begin at 6:30 p.m. May 19 at Corcoran High School’s Ted Grace Reading Grove. The event is run by the Corcoran High School Parent-Teacher-Student Organization in conjunction with the Corcoran Alumni Association and Syracuse University School of Education.

Central New Yorkers Bruce Coville, Jacquelyn Grace-Rasheed and family, Vanessa Johnson and Dave Knittel are the featured storytellers at this year’s event, which promotes reading and literacy and honors Grace, a former SU professor. Grace, a literacy advocate and avid storyteller, died in 2004.

“This annual event honors the memory of our late cherished colleague, Ted Grace, and serves as a reminder of his rich legacy of grounding literacy work in our community’s many stories,” says Kathy Hinchman, professor of reading and language arts in the School of Education.

A group of local residents began raising money in 2006 to refurbish and clean up the Furnace Brook area near Corcoran High School, Grace’s alma mater. They named the newly cleaned area the Ted Grace Reading Grove and launched the first StoryFest.

StoryFest is now one of the primary fundraisers for further improvements to the Reading Grove. The event has so far helped build an outdoor amphitheater and install a brick platform.

This year’s event is dedicated to Mark Wright, program director of the Cultural Resources Council of Syracuse, who died in November. Wright’s vision and support were central to the community’s ability to create the Ted Grace Reading Grove and present the annual StoryFest, Hinchman says.

“His absence is deeply felt by all those who’ve been involved in these two projects, as well as those who are involved in the arts in Central New York,” she says.

Admission to StoryFest IV is $10 for adults, $5 for K-12 students and free for children under age 5. For tickets call (315) 383-4018.