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The Story Capital of Texas

Middleton Brewery will be the site for the first night of StoryFest: Stories In Poems. Submitted photo

The Story Capital of Texas: Wimberley hosts second ever StoryFest Feb. 17-20

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Once upon a time, there was a small town in Texas called Wimberley. A cypress-lined creek trickled through its heart to meet the bottle-green waters of the Blanco. Its cedar-studded hills and the rocky spine of Devil’s Backbone provided a backdrop for all manner of tales, and if someone looked at the village just right, it could look like a hundred years ago, or only yesterday. It was one of those kinds of towns.

And so, with all its different kinds of stories, Wimberley had a dream. It wanted to become The Story Capital of Texas. Therefore, the Wimberley Valley Arts & Cultural Alliance came together to make that dream come true with StoryFest 2022, a storytelling event set for Feb. 17-20, and spanning five distinctive Wimberley venues.

Headliners will feature nationally-recognized singer-songwriters such as Susan Gibson, Slaid Cleaves and Adam Carroll, storyteller W.F. Strong; and poet, author and musician Nathan Brown, all of whom have Wimberley connections.

“We intend to lay claim to Wimberley being ‘The Story Capital of Texas,’ ” said Don Minnick, WVACA board member and head of the StoryFest committee. “I suspect there are other storytelling gatherings in cities and towns in Texas. But, if any other community wants to challenge our claim, let them bring their evidence. I’d feel perfectly safe saying that Wimberley has more talent in all these story forms than any other community our size in Texas.”

The four-day event will kick off Thursday, Feb. 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Middleton Brewery, a brewpub on Ranch Road 12 just south of Wimberley, with Stories in Poems.

“This night’s event is headed up by Nathan Brown, a local poet in Wimberley who was recently the poet laureate of Oklahoma,” said WVACA board member Jan Fitzhugh. “He’s bringing in a lot of poets from the area.”

The evening will be filled with readings by local and area poets who are able to distill story to its essence.

The second night of StoryFest will be Stories In Song, held at Wimberley’s Old Glory Ranch. Doors will open at 5:15 p.m., with music starting at 6 p.m. and continuing until 10 p.m. The event will begin with a meet-and-greet with the performers, along with food and drink, followed by a showcase of up-and-coming musicians and a song-and-story swap with local favorites.

“Old Glory Ranch itself is an amazing venue,” said Fitzhugh. “We’re excited to be out there.”

Traditional storytellers will take the stages Saturday, Feb. 19 with two Wimberley venues: The Opera House in Pioneer Town at historic 7A Ranch, and the Burdine Theater at Emily Ann Theater and Gardens. Attendees can choose either place to spend the day and hear the same full program of storytellers.

“The audience will stay in one location, and the storytellers will swap venues,” Fitzhugh explained. “That way, the people in the audience will get to see all 16 storytellers.”

StoryFest continues on Sunday, Feb. 20 at the Wimberley Playhouse, where festival-goers will enjoy a lineup of eight “illustrated storytellers” — those who weave tales while incorporating a visual component. This includes slide shows, videos, puppets and photographs.

“We have Rodney Bursiel, a world-renowned photographer, who will be bringing photographs of his recent trip to Africa.” In 2017, Bursiel was named National Geographic’s Photographer of the Year.

Rodney Bursiel will show his work as an illustrated storyteller. Photo by Rodney Bursiel

StoryFest will then conclude with one of the oldest forms of storytelling with the Wimberley Players’ first production of the 2022 season: “Clue.” The play is based on the 1985 Paramount movie, which is loosely based on the Hasbro board game, and is a farce meets-murder mystery in which all of the characters must race to find out who killed their host.

StoryFest 2022 picks up where its 2020 inaugural festival left off. That was a one-day affair packed with traditional storytellers, but since that time, festival organizers have realized that Wimberley has even more stories to tell.

“The people organizing this event recently talked about the fact that, in Wimberley, you truly do walk into the cafe or any location around the town, and you do hear people telling stories. It’s a natural place for it,” Fitzhugh said.

“Our plan is to continue a version of a StoryFest annually for years to come,” said Minnick. “Our hope is that story fests like this one will become a powerful community-builder, and the next step of a much-loved tradition in the Wimberley valley.”

Tickets are available for each event individually and for the festival as a whole.

To purchase tickets, visit the website at

The festival currently has a COVID-19 policy in place, so masks may be required for certain venues. Consult the website for further inquiries.

San Marcos Record

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