Published Sunday, January 13, 2013

Spin Time Storytelling new tradition in Moreland

From Staff Reports

The Spin Time Storytelling Festival brought storytellers, pets, crafts, puppets and activities to Moreland – and organizers hope to make the event an annual one.

The Coweta Public Library System and the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance joined their forces to put together the first storytelling festival.

Events were held in and around the Moreland Mill.

A petting zoo behind the mill was a popular spot with children.

Ann Wallace led a storytelling workshop, and children made crafts – some with assistance from Mother Goose herself.

Greenville actor JohnPaul Phillips presented several readings as part of the Lewis Grizzard Living Museum project.

The first Spin Time was held in Grizzard’s hometown on his birthday, Oct. 20. His widow, Dedra Grizzard, came from Atlanta for the day’s festivities.

Local artisans displayed their wares on Main Street, and members of Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church in Lone Oak prepared hotdogs and sold snacks. Ronnie Boswell used his tractor to take participants on a hayride of the historic south Coweta town.

An Author’s Village was assembled on the town green, and visitors talked with writers and got books autographed. There were several areas for storytelling during the morning.

Jimmy Bass, interim library system director, and Coweta musician Lance Mapp provided entertainment from a grandstand on Main Street.

Marian Sorensen of the Alliance Theatre of Atlanta read “Molly Cottontail,” one of the children’s books by Coweta-born writer Erskine Caldwell from that spot, as well.

Moreland poet John Suttles read his tribute to “Miss Moreland,” a mannequin who for years kept watch over the downtown from an upper floor window of the mill.

Marie Vielot, who coordinated Spin Time for CPLS, told the crowd that the event had been “an exciting day” for participants.

Carol Chancey of MCAA talked about the unique experiences in Moreland – in part because of the literary heritage of Caldwell and Grizzard.

MCAA “continues to give that experience not just for the people in Coweta County, but for people everywhere,” Chancey said.

She talked about work being done in the two-story section of the mill. The downstairs floors had house the Moreland Hometown Heritage Museum for years.

“It has long been the home of the historical society” and has offered a taste of “what life in the early 1900s in the South was like,” Chancey said.

The upper floor of the mill is to become a media center dedicated to Grizzard, Caldwell and other Southern authors. Chancey described Moreland as a place “where life grows character.”

Dedra Grizzard expressed thanks to Chancey and Winston Skinner, MCAA president, for their efforts “to preserve Lewis’s legacy.”

The Piccadilly Puppets delighted youngsters and their parents in the mill in the early afternoon.

A storytelling concert concluded the afternoon – with Barry Stewart Mann of Young Audiences as master of ceremonies. Storytellers included Anthony Vinson and Jonah McDonald from the Southern Order of Storytellers, LaDoris Bias-Davis and Josie Bailey of the Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia, Tersi Bendiburg of Young Audiences and Curtis Richardson of Wren’s Nest Storytellers.

A short story contest was also held in conjunction with Spin Time.

Newnan writer Keith Dunnavant and Skinner, who also is an editor at The Times-Herald, were judges for the contest.

Winners were – first, Harrison Strickland, Heritage Christian School; second, Destiny Turner, Evans Middle School; and third, Miracle Glenn, Ruth Hill Elementary.

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