FARMINGTON — Finding 15 minutes of fame and one family’s 20-mile wintertime journey two centuries ago to settle near Rangeley Lake were all part of the weekend Western Maine Storytelling Festival.

The second annual festival is part of a growing storytelling community, according to event organizer Jo Radner, who is also a storyteller, folklorist and scholar.

“Storytelling wasn’t always very common in western Maine,” she said. “It’s a developing art, but a lot of people here are good talkers.”

Some of Maine’s richest heritage has been passed down through the spoken word.

A combination of fact, creativity and the ability to talk to people helped Jude Lamb with her tale.

For a lifetime, Lamb has heard the story about her family making the journey across Rangeley Lake and over the hills in the winter of 1815.

Lamb’s ancestors settled in Rangeley; she and her family still live there.

Lamb tells the story as if she was her own great-great-great-great-grandmother.

Lamb hopes her family stories inspire others to share their famliy stories.

Storyteller Mike Harris, performing as if in a conversation, told the crowd of roughly 30 people that he was skeptical of finding time in the spotlight, until it came to him at an unexpected moment.

He was in the audience at a Broadway show in New York when actor Jason Biggs was asking the crowd to make a donation, but his microphone wasn’t on.

Harris shouted loud enough for the entire theater we hear, “We can’t hear you.”

The house erupted in laughter in what Harris called natural comedy.

“if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone,” he said.

The festival featured performances, lectures and workshops at the University of Maine at Farmington as well as in South Carthage.

Radner left the audience with lighthearted words of encouragement for the future of Maine storytelling.

“We’ve been thinking ahead,” Radner said.

“Last year we called it the first annual; you know, a forced tradition. It’s a tradition because we say it is.”

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