Storytelling Days Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park hosts award-winning performers |

Storytelling Days Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park hosts award-winning performers

Staff Reports

Special to The R-C

The Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park is presenting local and regional tellers, performing for children and adults, during Storytelling Days, June 12-16.

The event includes a variety of storytelling for children and families, workshops, an original play and a special artifact exhibit.

“The Dangberg Home Ranch is itself an example of the power of a well-formed story, and I’ve long felt that it’s the perfect place for Nevadans to experience the broader art form,” said the park’s curator, Mark Jensen. “Stories have the power to influence, entertain and teach, and the expert tellers we’ve invited offer something for everyone.”

The five-day event is sponsored by City National Bank, Carson Valley Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Borges Family Carriage Rides.

On June 14, from 7-7:45 p.m., local story teller B.J. Fulmer presents campfire stories on the lawn in front of the historic Dangberg ranch house. That same evening, beginning at 9 p.m., the members of the Astronomical Society of Nevada will make their telescopes available for stargazing. Both of these events are free and tickets are not needed.

Storytelling specifically for children takes place 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. June 15, from, with multiple storyteller choices. Tickets are $10 per vehicle, admitting up to six people arriving together.

The morning’s performers include Dianna Borges, telling stories of the West while participants ride in a horse-drawn surrey from the Borges Family Carriage Rides. Kim Copel, a Carson Valley history tour guide and Chautauquan, appears as stagecoach driver Charlie Parkhurst, sharing tales of the days when mail, money and people travelled by stagecoach throughout the Sierra.

Tim Ereneta and Muriel Johnson will also be telling stories that morning. Ereneta has performed on stages in schools, theaters and festivals across the country, and was the recipient of the National Storytelling Network’s J. J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Grant for 2006. With stories ranging from the silly to the suspenseful, Ereneta presents talking animals, misbehaving princesses, and ordinary objects with magical powers.

Johnson is a parent and teacher who shares personal and traditional tales while transforming into different characters using her voice, movements, expressions and spirit. Johnson has performed at many public libraries, school and storytelling festivals.

On June 15 and 16, from 2:45-5 p.m., featured storytellers perform for both children and adults. Tickets for the afternoon sessions are $15 per person for adults, and include both performers that day. Children 16 and younger are free.

Johnson will take the stage again to tell “Stories of Justice and Decision,” exploring decision-making and ethics though international folktales, with characters including a fourth grade bully, a singing wolf and a stubborn hunter.

Ereneta also performs again, presenting “Favorite and Forgotten Fairy Tales.” In addition to his other accomplishments, Ereneta is a co-founder of Storytellers Unplugged, an ensemble of performers who use improvisation to explore stores in everyday lives.

On Sunday afternoon, two more award-winning tellers take the stage. Kirk Waller tells stories that fuse music, movement and the spoken word, including folktales, myths and legends. Waller has earned national recognition for his abilities, including the J. J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Grant from the National Storytelling Network, and a Parent’s Choice Foundation Gold award.

Steven Henegar also appears, using wry conversation and a mix of personal experience, tall tales, contemporary legends and traditional American stories of adventure and magic. A veteran performer, Henegar spent four years as artist-in-residence at colleges through the North Carolina Visiting Artist Program, and has also worked with arts-in-education programs in several states. He serves on the board of the National Storytelling Network and was awarded their Oracle Award for Leadership and Service.

On June 15-16, the park presents an original play at 5:30 p.m., “Wild Women of the West: Eilley Bowers and Julia Bulette.” Written and performed by Kim Copel and Lisa Bommarito, the play explores the lives of two Comstock-era Nevadans: Eilley Bowers, wife of Sandy Bowers and co-participant in their rags-to-riches-to-rags story; and Julia Bulette, the infamous Virginia City prostitute. Play tickets can be added to the afternoon storyteller ticket for an additional $5, or can be purchased separately for $10 per adult.

On the morning of June 16, the park is offering a choice of two storytelling workshops. Each workshop is $2 per person, and space is limited.

Kirk Waller will conduct “Storytelling for Children” from 10-11:30 a.m., teaching participants the tools, tips and tricks that shape stories and engage children. Waller focuses on classic folktales, and the workshop is useful for teachers, librarians and parents.

Steven Henegar offers a contrasting workshop from 10 a.m.-noon, “Stories in Our Lives: Finding and Sharing Family Stories.” The session focuses on sharing family stories within families and across generations, providing techniques for exploring memory and the elements of a well-crafted tale. The workshop is geared for parents, grandparents and other adults.

In addition to the performances and workshop, the park has prepared a special exhibit of selected artifacts, photographs and documents from its extensive collection, arranged in the ranch house. The exhibit is open from noon-4 p.m. June 12-14. Cost is $5 for adults, free for children, and tickets are not required. It will also be available to ticket holders during the June 15-16 performances at no additional cost.

With the exception of the exhibit, all of the weekend’s events take place outdoors. Tickets are available in Gardnerville at Joyce’s Fine Jewelry, Battle Born Wine, Plant It Nursery and The Entertainer. On-line ticketing links and more information are at The park is located at 1450 Highway 88, Minden, Nevada, one-half mile south of the Carson Valley Swim Center.

The Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park is the Reno-Tahoe Territory winner of’s 2012 “Discover Your Nevada” contest. The site preserves the home of Heinrich F. Dangberg and his descendants. The Dangbergs were the most prominent ranching family in Carson Valley history and founded Minden in 1905. The site includes eight historic structures built between 1857 and 1917, along with a collection of 39,000 artifacts, documents and photographs acquired and used by the Dangberg family. Programs include tours, exhibits and other public events.

The park is operated by Friends of Dangberg Home Ranch Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, in cooperation withDouglas County.