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Waukegan Public Library presents the award-winningRay Bradbury Storytelling Festival on All Hallows Eve
Experience Halloween beyond trick-or-treating, costumes, and pumpkin carving this year. Instead, celebrate Ray Bradbury’s favorite holiday with some of the most recognized ghost stories, macabre fables, and creepy tales told on the historic Genesee Theatre stage. The Ninth Annual Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival, hosted by the Waukegan Public Library, takes place on Friday, October 31 at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Waukegan.
Named after, and honoring Waukegan’s famous writer-offspring, the Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival has entertained fans of literature, storytelling, and Bradbury for the past eight years. Each year, the festival celebrates a different literary theme such as “Literary Monsters”, “Literary Ghosts” or “Literary Witches.” This year’s theme “Literary Halloween” delights in Bradbury’s favorite time of year.
Megan Wells serves as the artistic director of the festival and appears each year in the persona of various nefarious characters, from Dracula to Mr. Dark. She holds an MFA in theater arts and numerous theater awards including the Joseph Jefferson Award for directing. Wells is excited to tell one of Bradbury’s famous Halloween stories on the evening he loved most.
“Nine years ago, we asked Ray Bradbury if we could use his name to create an annual Storytelling Festival, and his only stipulation was that it be at the end of October, around Halloween,” said Richard Lee, executive director of the Waukegan Public Library. “His love of fall comes out in his writing. You can actually smell the autumn air, taste the pumpkin pie, hear the crush of leaves, and often feel an impending shiver. It will be incredible to hear his words that evening.”
Presented by the Waukegan Public Library, the award-winning festival presents a frightful family friendly first act for all ages at 6:30 p.m. and a spooky second act recommended for listeners age 12 and older starting at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 for both acts, or guests can purchase reduced tickets for one act only. Present any library card at the box office and receive $1 off the ticket price. Tickets go on sale Friday, August 29 at the Genesee box office or www.ticketmaster.com.
A one-hour matinee show for students is presented at 10:30 a.m. Tickets for the school show are $5 if purchased before October 1 or $6 after October 1. School groups receive one free chaperone ticket for every ten tickets purchased. Teachers and caregivers can contact the box office at 847-623-6300 for more information.
The Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival is a great way for both children and adults to enjoy the fun, and occasionally dark, aspects of this venerable holiday. All attendees are welcome to dress in costume. For more information, call or visit the library at www.waukeganpl.org or (847) 623-2041.
The Waukegan Public Library presents the fifth annual Monarch Festival on Sunday, September 7 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the corner of Clayton and County Streets in downtown Waukegan. The Monarch Festival is a free family event dedicated to raising awareness in the community about the environment, healthy living, and the importance of physical activity and exercise.
This year the Library is presenting bike stunts by pro BMX rider Matt Wilhelm, an “America’s Got Talent” semi-finalist. Wilhelm is known as the fastest spinner in the world on a BMX bike and has earned three X-Games Medals. His show includes topics about bike safety, motivation, and perseverance. In addition to the bike stunts, there will be a demonstration by the Waukegan Police Department K-9 Unit and traditional Mexican cultural dancing by Erande.
Activities at the festival include a climbing wall, a radar soccer kick game, free face painting, and the chance to fly a quad copter courtesy of the Boy Scouts of America Northeast Illinois Council. In addition to local restaurants offering a variety of food and drinks, the Chicago Botanic Gardens Green Youth Farm will sell fresh fruits and vegetables from their local farmer’s market.
The festival uses the flight and movement of the Monarch butterfly to teach families about the importance of staying active and eating healthy. Booths highlight the fall migration of the Monarch butterfly from Illinois to Michoacan, Mexico with activities like hula hooping, jump roping, and dancing to show the importance of the ecosystem to the survival of the Monarch.
Sponsors of the Monarch Festival include Bright Start College Savings, Prairie Crossing Charter School, Great Lakes Credit Union, Words on Wheels, Lewis Fresh Market, Vista Health, Consumers Credit Union, Erie Family Health, H&R Block, Rosita La Michoacana, Classic Toyota, Puro Futbol, Mundo Fox, Waukegan Park District, and Most Blessed Trinity Parish.
For questions about the festival, the performers or exhibitors, call Rena Morrow, Marketing and Exhibits Manager at the Waukegan Public Library, at (847) 623-2041, ext. 231.