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Big Fibber from Forsyth taking part in storytelling festival

The Buzz: Week 10

By: Joshua Sutton

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NORTH FORSYTH — Tracy Walker says she’s seen a herd of cows walk into a library and come out reading books, but don’t take her word for it.

Walker, a Forsyth County resident, is one of 14 contestants in the 239th Big Fibbers Storytelling Festival taking place this weekend in Rome.

It’s the festival’s first year, but Walker said there are numerous such competitions held each year.

“This is my first time participating in one, but all over the county different storytelling organizations hold liars contests or fibbers contests,” she said. “And they usually involve lots of tall tales, some of them completely original to the teller. Others are variations of traditional tall tales.”

Like any competition, fibbing has a strategy.

“I think the key to a good fib or a good tall tale is that you start out with a foundation of normalcy,” Walker said. “Then, the further along you go, that’s when you can exaggerate and build in the fantastical. But to start out perfectly normal and then get grander as you go along I think is a good formula.”

Walker, who has been telling stories professionally for about a decade, said most of them are geared toward children and families, which helps with her day job.

“I started out by taking stories into Head Start centers,” Walker said. “For about the last nine years, I’ve been the children’s librarian at the Dawson County Public Library.”

She has even released a CD of her stories for families. 

“It’s folk tales and also traditional folk songs,” Walker said. “All of the stories on the CD are ‘Pourqoui’ stories, which means they explain why something is the way it is. So there’s a story on there about why the tip of foxes tails are white and why you shouldn’t stare at the sun.

“I do a wide variety of things. I’d say the wide majority of things I do is with children and their families … I also tell for adults as well in festival storytelling.”

After Rome, she will travel to Utah for another competition.

As for the cows, they’re part of Walker’s entry, which of course starts in reality and ends in absurdity.

“It’s about working here at the library and some cows that read,” Walker said. “It starts out very normal and then you find out more about that as the story goes on, literate bovines.”