The second annual Telling Tales in Balingup Festival was bigger and better than the first – which is really saying something! In this tiny town in the south west of Western Australia there is such an amazing buzz of excitement as children and their parents flock in from hundreds of kilometers away to participate in workshops run by West Australian authors, illustrators, storytellers and film makers.Of course it is not only the children who participate. The cafes, gift shops, art and craft galeries – in fact every business in the town also becomes involved. There is a street parade of book and story characters each day. And it is not only the children who are dressed up. Members of the community get right into the spirit of things with the Queen of Hearts handing out free tarts and the Pied Piper attracting a crowd of followers, young and old. This year there was also a very cheeky mouse trying to nibble at the visitor’s lunches was they sat at the outdoor tables.
During the weekend I ran four writing workshops for 8-12 year olds (and a couple of adults). Everyone wrote something. One boy and one girl just wrote and wrote and wrote! What a joy to be able to write for a whole hour – uninterrupted.
It was great to see so much enthusiasm and commitment to the art of telling stories, from everyone involved. My admiration and heartfelt thanks go to the organizers for their vision, their imagination and, of course, their hard work! Thanks Helen, Alison and Deb.