The story behind NCS


     In 1997, the great Irish storyteller, Liz Weir, came to Eureka, California for a five week residency. Through a grant written by Libby Maynard of the Ink People Center for the Arts, Liz came to help establish a connection between Ireland and the United States through storytelling.

    Local storyteller, Dan O’Gara, invited Liz to travel with him to schools and libraries in the area. Together they envisioned a storytelling festival at Patrick’s Point State Park by the year 2000.

    It was agreed that a storytelling guild called the North Coast Storytellers should be established as a team in order to produce the Storytelling Festival by the Sea. It was fortunate that the group was talented, for the featured tellers, Liz Weir and Mary Gay Ducey were injured in a car accident as they travelled to that first Festival.

    The original North Coast Storytellers:  Ross Mackinney, Carol Larsen, Paul Woodland, JoAnn Bauer and Dan O’Gara stepped up to the task of delivering a charming weekend with the help of other fine tellers who had traveled to the show from the Bay Area.

    That first Festival established the tradition of opening and closing with a Yurok song by the legendary singer, Aileen Figueroa, and it featured a talented group of Native American tellers on the “California Indian Stage.”

    Each year the Festival has brought new features such as “Mostly Ghostly Tales,” a special event since 2001 which also featured Carpathian from 2005-2011.

    A highlight has been “Storytelling in the Schools,” with featured tellers of the Festival by such favorite professionals as Liz Weir, Mary Gay Ducey, Charlie Chin, Baba Jamal Koram, Erica Lann-Clark, Willy Claflin, Carol Birch, Olga Loya, Bil LeppDiane Ferlatte, Dan Keding, Milbre Burch, Len Cabral, Beth Horner, Michael Parent, and Angela Lloyd.

    Over the years, North Coast Storytellers have brought their own professional talent to programs in libraries, schools, campfires, fundraisers, literacy nights, and inspirational settings as well as concerts such as “Tellabration” and “Tell Me A Story.”

    Wherever North Coast Storytellers appear, they share a love for great stories told well.

Pictured at right is our late founder Dan O’Gara. We miss him soo much. He traveled the world, both in body and in spirit and shared the wealth of stories with all who would listen.
He founded the Storytelling Festival by the Sea and mentored many of us. Thank you Dan O’Gara!