Storyteller festival returns to Dallas

Rachel Greco will give a talk on strong women in early Oregon history on Wednesday at the Dallas Public Library. Her presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.

DALLAS — Rachel Greco, the owner of Grandma’s Attic in Dallas, learned her love of history and storytelling from her grandmother.

Her grandmother spent time with Greco teaching her sewing, baking, cooking -- and quilting -- something that has become a large part of her life and business.

“I would spend afternoons with my grandmother working on various things, including quilting, and she was quite a historian herself,” Greco said. “She would tell me stories, history, and that’s how I became interested in history.”

For years Greco has told stories of Oregon history to the members of her store’s quilt clubs as they work on projects — and on Wednesday she will kick off the fourth-annual Storyteller Festival in Dallas.

The title of her talk is “Strong Women in Early Oregon History.” Greco attributes her love of quilts and the history of them — she describes herself as being “a “laundry basket away from being a hoarder on quilt history stuff” — as part of her inspiration to learn about the women in history, especially those in Oregon history.

In Wednesday’s talk she will focus on five influential Oregonians and what made them strong women. They include Bethenia Owens-Adair, one of the first women to earn a medical degree in Oregon, and Abigail Scott Duniway, an early women’s rights activist.

“Then I talk about a woman that nobody has ever heard of before who I have come across who I think is even stronger than all the rest of them,” Greco said.

She’s keeping the identity of that woman a secret until Wednesday.

“Her story’s incredible though,” Greco said. She’s ‘just a pioneer,’ but not really. You can call it a glimpse of what women went through as they traveled the Oregon Trail.”

Greco’s is the first of five performances by storytellers with a variety of styles and backgrounds starting Wednesday and running through Oct. 2. Mark Greenhalgh-Johnson, the director festival host Dallas Public Library, said when looking for performers, he aims for diversity.

“We are trying to get a good mix of different kinds of storytelling,” Greenhalgh-Johnson said.

He added the Portland Story Theater, which has participated in the festival since the beginning, typically performs in Portland, but make two stops in Dallas each year.

“People will drive to Portland to see this, and twice a year, they can come downtown and see the same thing,” he said.

This year’s lineup:

Rachel Greco — “Strong Women in Early Oregon History,” Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Dallas Public Library, 950 Main St.

Anne Rutherford and Norm Brecke, a husband and wife duo performing comedic stories and folklore on baseball, Abraham Lincoln and hot springs. The show is called “Fun at Heart” and combines music and comedy in the storytelling. They perform on Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at Dallas Retirement Village’s Lodge’s Cascade Room, 377 NW Jasper St.

Portland Story Theater Urban Storytellers — Five storytellers with an intermission. They perform on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Majestic Theater, 956 Main St. This show is for people 18 and older as is contains adult themes from true-life experiences. There will be a no-host bar.

Okaidja Afroso — Afroso was born to a family of musicians and storytellers in the village of Kokrobite on the west coast of Ghana. He brings a three-person ensemble to perform Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Dallas Civic Center, 945 SE Jefferson St.

“They play music, they drum, and they dance and tell a story here and there from Africa,” Greenhalgh-Johnson said. “We are trying to get a cross-cultural thing going and that’s what he does. His music is kind of a fusion of traditional African with European-American mix to it.”

Alton Chung — a native of Hawaii, Chung tells Hawaiian myths and stories about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Chung performs on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Dallas Public Library, 950 Main St.

“He takes on the persona of somebody who was an eye witness of Pearl Harbor attack,” Greenhalgh-Johnson said. “He’ll be doing two stories from that. That seems to be something that a lot of people have an interest in around here.”

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