Elaine Forrestal

We’ve been Telling Tales again

Elaine Forrestal presenting a writing workshop for 8-13 year olds in Balingup

Balingup put on all its storybook finery over the weekend and welcomed authors, illustrators and storytellers from all over the state.

Each year the road which runs through the centre of town comes to life with more, and better dressed, ‘scarecrows’. Their brightly coloured satin capes and coats glow and blow in the breeze. With their variety of hats, crowns and gold-painted horns catching the sun, and the attention of passers-by, they welcome visitors to a special weekend in their remarkable town. In the shops and cafes you are likely to be served by the Mad Hatter, the Straw Man, the King, or the Queen of Hearts and an assortment of witches and wizards. It you are quick you will see a giant mouse scuttling across the road, mingling with the crowd and stealing crumbs from the plates of diners at outdoor tables, or nibbling at her dubious looking block of cheese. There are dragons, fairies and the Fiddler’s Three playing live music. This year I didn’t see the Pied Piper, who has charmed everyone during past Festivals as he strolled through the town playing his pipe. But that is one of the amazing things about the Balingup Telling Tales Festival, every year there is something different to discover.

For me, presenting writing workshops in this story-oriented environment is an even more enjoyable experience than usual. And I am full of admiration for the Balingup community who come together, pool their resources, and harness so much imagination, innovation and initiative to keep their culture alive and create a vibrant, thriving small town . Long may it continue.