By Judy Myers, Sandbar Storytelling Festival Board Secretary
The Sandbar Storytelling Festival Board of Directors would like to thank everyone who contributed to our inaugural event. Early reports show more than 1,500 tickets have been sold across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa – and as far away as Colorado, Michigan, Illinois and New York – for the two-day event. Storytellers also noted the warm welcome that greeted them throughout Winona. And, cutting the ribbon with the Chamber of Commerce was a highlight for the SSF22 team. The winners of the college contest were: Emilie Serna, junior at Saint Mary’s, third prize winner, winner of $100; Joe Shlanta, senior of Saint Mary’s, winning second prize, winning $200; and Winona State
sophomore Kendall Roland who took home the top prize, winning $300 and performing his play on stage Saturday night.
We would like to thank Saint Mary’s University for the use of the Performance Center, gazebo, grounds and parking facilities. The faculty, staff, students and administration are to be congratulated for making SSF22 such a success. Special thanks go to Jim Bedtke, Lynette Johnson, Deb Nahrgang, Kevin Ebben, Leon Dixon, Carolyn Ayers, Yuly Gonzales, Walter Elder, Jimmy Bickerstaff, the field and maintenance team and the helpful IT staff. Thanks to Saint Mary’s students Jack Broaders, Joseph Shlanta, José Velarde and Cassandra Sepp.
Special thanks to Betty Kline for the beautiful illustrations provided for the posters and program covers. Other works by Betty can be found at the Winona Visitor Center as well as the Winona County Historical Society.
It takes a lot of financial support as well as a variety of resources to organize a festival. We were fortunate to receive support for our vision of a “Professional Storytelling Festival” and would like to thank the following donors:
Founding members including the Bosshard | Parke Family Fund, Laurie Lucas, Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council – Legacy Grant, Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund, Todd VonBastiaans, AmericInn, Anonymous, 101.1 The River, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Solo Perche Bags, Walnut Street Dental, Wild Wales Tours and Walkabouts, Winona Community Foundation and Winona Post.
Supporting members including Elizabeth Callender King Foundation, Ravens Point Productions, WNB Financial, Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation, Gary Diomandes and Family, Dare L. White Foundation, Mary Beidler Gearen, HBCI, Winona Foundation, John Latsch Memorial Board, Margaret Johnson, Marlene and Bob Kohner, Thern, Kent Gernander, Peter Shortridge, Slaggie Family Foundation and Hurryback Productions, Margaret Johnson, Fran Edstrom, Carrie Frederick, Doug Nopar, Eileen Lynch, First Alliance Credit Union, Jenel Briggs, Loretta Fredericks, Lucille Fisher , Scott and Kelly Olson, Todd Graff and Laurie Ziliak, Jean Mueller and Cherie Hales.
In-kind contributions were provided by Denise Hamernik (marketing), Chris Eagan (Solo Perche Bags), Chris Kendall (Wing Dam Jammers), Ryan and Donna Konkel (Discount Liquor), Nola’s Flowers, Winona Area Public Schools (for Koo Koo Kanga Roo) and John Casper.
Tellers spent several hours in area schools Thursday and Friday where they reached around 2,200 students, 30 teachers and staff and more than 100 grandparents. Thank you to the following schools that participated: Bluffview Montessori School, Cotter Elementary School, Cotter Middle School, Cotter High School, Jefferson Elementary School (Rios Immersion Program), Lewiston-Altura High School, Ridgeway Community School, Riverway Learning Community, Rushford-Peterson Middle School, Washington – Kosciusko Elementary School, Winona Area Learning Center, Winona Middle School, and Winona Senior High School.
The storytellers also took a literature course and a drama course at Saint Mary’s University, during which they worked with 38 students to make an impact through storytelling. Other community events were held at the Blue Heron Coffeehouse, Blooming Grounds Coffee House and Winona Friendship Center. We appreciate their efforts in organizing these events.
Additional thanks go to Emily Kurash Casey, Carew Halleck, H3O Jazz Trio, Island City Brewing Company, Bluff Country Coop, Mark Peterson, Muddled Thyme, Winona Farmers Market, Winona County Historical Society, and the presenters of Business and Immigrant Stories including Nancy Edstrom Bachler, Steve Bachler, Nick Edstrom, Joni Welda, Garrick Holey, Fatima Said and members of the Project Fine community.
Thanks to the rest of our volunteers Nadine Bayer, Anne Brindley, Emily Casey, Faith Casey, Warren Casey, Anne Conway, Aditi Czarnomski, Jodi Dansingburg, Jessi Darst, Joyati Debnath, Shawn Duffy, Johanna Frisch, Patrick Grace, Barbara Hassing, Bruce Johnson , Margaret Shaw Johnson, Cece Keeling, Debby Klages, Karina Kujawa, Rose Lambert, Lauren Leighton, Chris Meyer, Tracy Morgan, Tedd Morgan, Anissa Nelson, Mary Nelson, Nikki Richmond, Paul Schollmeier, Jamie Schwaba, Seamus Schwaba and Karen Stutzka.
We can’t wait to bring back another slew of fabulous storytellers next year, including Kevin Kling, Diane Ferlatte, Kim Weitkamp, Motoki, plus the return of Bil Lepp!
Thank you, Winona!