The first Timpanogos Storytelling Festival was held in Karen Ashton’s own yard. In the coming years, the festival has moved to several iconic Utah Valley venues, including the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theater and Mount Timpanogos Park. Now the storytellers and hearers gather at the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point.

Saluting its 30th anniversary, the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival is gearing up for a celebratory year at the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point.

What started as a way to raise money for the Orem Public Library has grown into one of the nation’s premier storytelling events where people around the world come to hear stories from incredible performers.

“We had already tried a bake sale and an in-home tour, but they didn’t do much. So we decided to try a storytelling festival,” says Karen Ashton, who founded the festival in 1990.

Not only did the festival raise money for the library but it also became an annual event now 30 years strong.

“Once someone comes to the festival, they almost always come back,” Karen says. “It’s a soul-satisfying experience.”

This year’s storytellers include nationally-acclaimed talent: Simon Brooks, Donald Davis, Carmen Deedy, Andy Hedges, Bill Lepp. Tim Lowry, Barbara McBride-Smith, Motoko, Sheila Starks Phillips, Antonio Rocha, Anne Rutherford and Don White.

Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point will host the festival September 5-7 from10 a.m.-10 p.m. all three days. Patrons can purchase online single-event tickets, day passes and weekend passes at thanksgivingpoint.org. Discounted UTA tickets are also available for ease of parking.

Originally published in the September/October 2019 issue of Utah Valley Magazine.

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