With storytellers on board and passengers ready to listen, the evening chugged away Thursday as the Heber Valley Railroad became the Story Train.
The first annual storytelling event on wheels, the Story Train is a new addition to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in its ninth year in Orem.Organizers say it not only is a novelty but a success. The Story Train sold out well before it made its unhurried run between Vivian Park in Provo Canyon to Heber City and back again.
Tickets went for $25 each and included a box lunch, a seat on the train and a variety of storytellers spinning tales and strumming banjos in every swaying car.
A set of actors even played out a short melodrama up and down the aisles.
Waddie Mitchell, sitting on a stool in the aisle wearing a 10-gallon cowboy hat, told the embarrassing tale of buying lingerie for his wife. He also advised listeners to "stay off of those broncos with wings" and shared helpful hints on straightening out bulls with crossed eyes.
David Novak shared the real story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer who suffered abuse at the hoofs of his fellow reindeer and who became haughty and proud once he saved the day.
Sandra MacLees told the tale of Scheherazade and how being a really good storyteller saved her from a royal beheading.
John McCutcheon taught songs about what happens when "Dad's Got That Look" and mama calling the children home.
Steven Henegar explained why the sky is now so high and why people have to work to feed themselves these days.
Jim Taylor, "a singing mail carrier," shared songs about the Civil War he says North Carolinians more correctly call "The War of Northern Aggression."
All of the tale spinners will be part of the offering at the official storytelling festival at the Olmsted Park at 800 North and University Avenue in Orem Friday and Saturday.
Events featuring the national storytellers, local storytellers and youth storytellers from the Alpine School District competitions will run from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. both days with bedtime stories at 7 p.m. Friday in the Olmsted Park and ghost stories at 8:30 p.m. at the SCERA Shell. Saturday night will be Laughin' Night at the SCERA Shell.
Tickets are still available at the festival and parking is available across the street from the festival. Shuttles manned by Orem city employees will ferry festivalgoers from the parking area to the festival grounds.
Prices vary from $80 for a family of five for the full event to individual tickets, which are $15 for one day or $30 for the full event. Tickets to the evening events are $6 each.