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On the road: Coastal Alabama Storytelling Festival is Saturday on Dauphin Island

COURTESY DAUPHIN ISLAND HERITAGE AND ARTS COUNCILMusic historian Bobby Horton and storyteller Dolores Hydock will be special guests at the first Coastal Alabama Storytelling Festival on Saturday on Dauphin Island. The festival will also feature residents telling tales from life on the island before it was connected to the mainland.
COURTESY DAUPHIN ISLAND HERITAGE AND ARTS COUNCILMusic historian Bobby Horton and storyteller Dolores Hydock will be special guests at the first Coastal Alabama Storytelling Festival on Saturday on Dauphin Island. The festival will also feature residents telling tales from life on the island before it was connected to the mainland.

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. -- Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council will hold its inaugural Coastal Alabama Storytelling Festival 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on Dauphin Island.

It will feature local and statewide storytellers, vintage music and demonstrations of boat building, net weaving, net casting, oystering, shrimping and crabbing.

Kathryn Carver, president of the Heritage and Arts Council, said the festival springs from the success of the council's "Stirring the Sand" series in, which local residents tell tales of life on Dauphin Island before the opening of the first bridge to the mainland.

"The Storytelling Festival will feature several local personalities telling stories of coastal life in bygone days," Carver said. "The festival will also include professional storyteller Dolores Hydock of Birmingham performing excerpts from diaries kept by a young Alabama woman during the Civil War."

Hydock's Civil War stories will be accompanied by nationally known music historian Bobby Horton, noted for his musical work with Ken Burns' PBS "Civil War" series. Horton will add Civil War camp songs and other period and original tunes to further illustrate Alabama's Civil War life. Members of the Port City Songwriters will perform other musical entertainment for the festival.

A large tent east of the Dauphin Island Art Gallery, 918 Bienville Blvd., will house the main storytelling stage, and smaller tents will be scattered through adjacent lots on Lemoyne Drive where area crafters will share their expertise and the culture of coastal life handed down for several generations.

Admission will be $15 per person, with children 10 and younger admitted for free.

Deborah Boykin, director of community arts and folklorist with the Alabama State Council on the Arts, will act as interviewer for the local storytellers from Dauphin Island and south Mobile County, who will give accounts of growing up in the 1930s and 1940s on a barrier island with no bridge access.

They'll also share stories about the rigors of making a living from the waters of Mobile Bay, the Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.

"This promises to be a day well spent on Dauphin Island," Carver said.

Tickets are available online through www.EventBrite.com, and at the Dauphin Island Welcome Center and the Dauphin Island Art Gallery.

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