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Sherwood Public Library will host the finale of a countywide storytelling festival.

COURTESY: WCCLS - Local storyteller Habiba Addo will perform at an Art of the Story event in Sherwood on Saturday, May 5. Sherwood will once again play host to the culmination of the biggest storytelling event in Washington County.

The Art of the Story is an annual Washington County Cooperative Library Services-facilitated festival that celebrates verbal storytelling. This year, it has features 11 professional and amateur storytelling events over two weeks. This is its 14th year in existence.

"WCCLS provides so many kid events, and they wanted to do something that was specifically for adults," said Jenny Swanson, a Sherwood Public Library operations supervisor who has been involved with Art of the Story for about five years. "The focus is more for adults — it's adult storytelling."

The Finale Showcase will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 5 at the Sherwood Center for the Arts. This is the second time Sherwood has hosted the finale; the first time was in 2015, just after the Center for the Arts had been built.

The event will include five performers: winners of the adult and student Story Slam Contests, and professional storytellers Habiba Addo, Rick Huddle and Geraldine Buckley.

Addo is an Ghanan immigrant based in Portland. Huddle is also Portland-based, and is a fixture at local library kids events. Buckley is an internationally recognized storyteller who has spoken and given workshops for over 30 years.

Audiences determine the winners of the Story Slam Contests at those events. To participate in those contests, storytellers must be amateurs who have not been paid to perform before. Swanson said that in her experience, "comedy usually goes over pretty well."

"They're usually based upon their own life, then extrapolated a little bit," she added.

Adrienne Doman Calkins, the Sherwood Public Library's manager, said that storytelling is an art that can be enjoyed by virtually anyone. She compared hearing a story told live, versus watching a video on a computer, to the difference between going to a concert and streaming music digitally.

"It's part of our culture to hear spoken word," she said. "Hearing a story firsthand is unlike anything else."

The Finale Showcase is free to attend, and there will be a reception before the show, from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m., with complimentary beverages and hors d'oeuvres. The show is intended for adults and kids 12 and older.

"Storytelling is such a rare experience these days," Doman Calkins said. "In our lives, with everything being digital, with everybody being so busy, we don't slow down often enough and hear stories."

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