Carrie Sue Ayvar comes to us from her home in Miami. With the simplest of phrases, "Había una vez/Once upon a time" …her magical tales, In Spanish and English, take you on a wondrous imaginary journey. Her tales celebrate both the similarities and the differences of our culturally diverse communities.
Cheryl Floyd is our own Cajun Queen. She will regale you with tales from the Bayou and for true you better believe her. Whether it’s folktales from around the world, stories from her mentors or Cajun tales from her southern Louisiana roots, Cheryl loves to share humor, song and family fun with listeners of all ages.
Robin Schulte has been teaching, telling stories and working with students for over 20 years as a middle and high school English teacher and Drama director. It was in the classroom that she first discovered the dynamic art of storytelling, and she has been enthusiastically telling ever since. She is actively involved in the local storytelling community as a performer at schools, festivals and special events, and she is currently the President of the Florida Storytellers Association.
“Tvshka” means Warrior. Vann is of Choctaw tribal descent and is a storyteller and flute player. He also tells Seminole stories and teaches about Native American culture.
Our only Cowboy Poet in the mix of storytellers, Hank Matson performs original works and classic poems and cowboy stories all set to rhyme. He delights audiences with his humor and style. We like it when words rhyme; so does the Cowboy Poet, Hank Mattson. He will treat you to vignettes delivered in a country-western drawl that reminds you of the American cowboy humorist, Will Rogers.
Tamara Green lives and works in Tampa Florida. A storyteller, writer and performer, Tamara lights up an audience with her energetic stories. Her presentation is electric and often hilarious. Tamara is a sight to behold and a joy to listen to. She specializes in African, African-American, multicultural, personal and historical tales. She will warm your heart and tickle your funny bone.
Katie Adams is a nationally recognized, professional puppeteer and storyteller from Tampa, Florida, who loves to perform for children and family audiences.
In, 1999, Katie created her own company, Make-Believe Theater dedicated to entertaining, inspiring and enlightening young audiences. She does all the creative work for her original shows, including writing, designing, construction, and composing.
Katie tours with the Artist-in-the-Schools program through the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, and does character education puppet shows for Learning For Life.
Madeline says her greatest joy is connecting with people through story – and that is exactly what happens when she takes the stage. She tells personal stories, laden with gentle humor, that are engaging and relatable. Her repertoire also includes folktales and some thrillers, which she calls “just plain creepy” stories.
Madeline has performed at The National Storytelling Festival Slam in Jonesborough, TN , The Florida Storytelling Festival, Northlands Confabulation in Wisconsin, Stone Soup Storytelling Festival in South Carolina, The Cracker Storytelling Festival, The Gamble Rogers Festival in St. Augustine, Fl and other venues.
She has published four cds of stories and four cd’s of children’s music.
Pat Nease is blessed with an enlarged funny bone. Her sense of humor and lively style coupled with her array of folk, family, original, and bone-chilling tales have delighted audiences across the south and even cured a few, since laughter is such good medicine.
Nelson Bailey, a retired County Court Judge from Palm Beach County, is a Florida storyteller who tells tales of Florida; stories are for young and old adults with an interest in Florida's horse and cattle heritage, though a collection of true tales of the horse and cow, tales that unexpectedly provide insights into the amazing diversity of Florida's human population for the past 500 years, delving into our state's unique Native American, Spanish, Black, and Florida "Cracker" heritage.
Charles Frierman has been doing children’s shows for over ten years. He was one of the founding members of the Grimy Brother’s Improv Troupe and has performed for kids throughout Polk, and Orange counties in Florida. Most recently, he has performed at the 2017 Orlando Kid’s Fringe with his dog Pupperton, and his beautiful wife, Blue. You can also find Charles at the Lakeland Public Library telling stories and performing Children’s Theater with kids.
Mitchell O’Rear hails from Orlando. Mitchell is a very creative guy who is the force behind Project Imagination and the founder of the annual “Ghost Stories in the Garden” event at Leu Gardens in Orlando. Mitchell was called a “Hometown Hero” in Orange County for his work with the Project Imagination storytelling troupe.
Telling stories all over the state of Florida and acting as a coach for other storytellers makes Mitchell a wonderful delight to listen to and work with. He’ll make you laugh and he loves to tell scary stories, so look out!
Kim Rivers and Nancy Crockford are known to many as StoryMusic.
StoryMusic is live music intertwined with storytelling’s oral tradition. Nancy Crockford (musician) and Kim Rivers (storyteller) deliver performances of time-honored humorous classic folklore twisted, redecorated and customized for each audience. Kim and Nancy have represented the Southeastern United States at the National Storytelling Festival and the National Storytelling Network Conference. Walt Disney World veterans, Nancy and Kim are seasoned Florida Folk Festival performers and part time White Springs residents. They are frequently seen with Hannah, the Labarotti wonder dog, at local convenient stores, State Parks and riverside sweet spots.
Mary Lou Williams is a retired teacher. She holds a masters degree in education from Columbia University. She has served on the board of the Florida Storytelling Association and has produced local storytelling workshops and concerts featuring national tellers. She gives workshops and seminars at the Renaissance Academy of Florida Gulf Coast University. She is also a member of Toastmasters and has achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster award. She has written a book of her stories called Ten Fractured Fairy Tales.
Combining traditional Japanese theatre, music, origami, magic, and storytelling; Yasu Ishida will guide you to the enchanting land of Japan.
Yasu Ishida was born in Ube, Japan. Inspired by the movie "Patch Adams", he came to the U.S. to become a professional hospital clown. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre for Young Audiences, and also graduated from theChavez Studio of Magic, the most prestigious magic school in the world. He has worked with a company of magicians in Hollywood.
Yasu was a resident magician at the Waikiki Aquarium where he performed magic shows and taught ocean themed magic tricks to kids weekly. During the summer of 2012, he performed with Zany Umbrella Circus on a New York & Pittsburgh Tour.
He is also founding Artistic Director of a storytelling troupe, Bento Rakugo which was featured during National Library Week 2013.
Schuyler Ford grew up in the Hudson Valley, immersed in the enchanted legends of her Dutch and German ancestors. Storytelling has always been a part of her life!
She is best described as "a fun and lively teller with heart!"
Connie Trama recently retired as the Youth Program Director at Lakeland Public Library. She has spent over thirty years presenting story programs at libraries, schools and festivals. Connie loves to tell humorous folktales and participatory stories; especially if those stories contain a song. She often tells as part of a singing, storytelling duo known as Sing and Tell with storyteller Linda Chancey. Connie is a member of the Cracker Storytelling Festival Committee.
Linda Chancey is a native of Homeland, Florida. She is a former Public Librarian and loves a good story with lots of humor and laughter.
Linda loves tongue twisters and silly stories about squirrels and outhouses and dogs and cats! Folktales are a staple in her repertoire.
Jim Mittlestadt is past president of the Florida Storytelling Guild and the Florida Storytelling Association. He hales from Minnesota and some of his stories are about growing up in the amazing winters there. Jim has a twinkle in his eye and pure love in his voice as he tells his tales. Mittelstadt became a full professor in 1977 at the University of North Florida. He taught classes in Curriculum and Instruction, specifically in the area of storytelling. During his tenure there Mittelstadt says he's particularly proud of his work with off-campus extension programs.
Melinda Munger is a highly regarded storyteller and author. Someone recently said “ A folktale in storyteller Melinda Munger's hands is a thing of beauty. She distills the tale down to it's raw truth, embodies and breathes comic life into its characters and then offers it up with powerful understanding.” She serves on the FSA board of directors,
Melinda was a children's librarian in the Miami Dade Library System and worked to develop the Imagination Factory. During her career, she took storytelling to a million children through her Large Audience and Library commercials outreach programs through-out Dade County.
the 2018 Cracker Storytelling Festival schedule
Helpful hint: If you are bringing a large group of students, please keep in mind that the venues are small. Most will not fit an entire class. Consider breaking your class into groups of 10-15 students.
We would like to thank our sponsors for their continued support:
Friends of the Bartow Public Library
Bartow Rotary Club
Florida's Natural Growers Foundation
Polk Education Foundation
Florida Transport Service, Inc.
Lilly O’ Tool & Brown, LLP
Lake Wales Library Association - Friends of the Library