LaGRANGE — If you venture out to the Hills & Dales Estate on Sunday, you may hear laughter in the breeze.
The historic home known for its graceful Italianate architecture and extensive gardens, along with the Azalea Storytelling Committee and the Lafayette Society for the Performing Arts, are slated to host the fourth annual Stories in the Gardens, featuring nationally acclaimed storyteller and humorist Andy Offutt Irwin.
Stories in the Gardens is held in the pecan grove at Hills & Dales, offering a family friendly atmosphere in the cool autumn air, with the venerable old shade trees and room for children to enjoy themselves. Refreshments are provided and guests are asked to bring along a chair or blanket to aid in their comfort.
It is free to the public, but reservations are required.
This year’s Stories in the Garden is a special one, as the Azalea Storytelling Festival, which draws world-class tellers and large audiences during the first full weekend in March every year, gears up to celebrate 20 years of festivals in LaGrange.
The casual gathering offers a fun way to get a feel for what storytellers do, and gives local tellers a venue for performing. This year’s lineup will include Irwin and local teller Pam Ramsay with Allen Keeble as emcee. Joanna Baxter will serve as the event’s coordinator.
Irwin is the recipient of the 2013 National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award. He is known for his repertoire of sound effects, hilarious stories, whistling skills and, perhaps more than anything, the delightful character “Aunt Marguerite Van Camp,” an 85-year-old widow who is always having one great adventure or other.
Keeble, a retired superior court judge, is renowned for his sharp wit and Southern charm. He is a member of the Azalea Storytelling Committee and has proven himself onstage at past events.
Pam Ramsay is also a member of the Azalea Storytelling Committee. She is a retired educator with a background in journalism. Ramsay has often mesmerized fellow committee members with stories of her childhood in the Midwest, and plans to enchant the audience at this year’s Stories in the Gardens.
Guests are asked to arrive through the Hills & Dales Drive entrance. The gate will open at 1 p.m. and close at 2:15 p.m. The stories will begin at 2 p.m. and last until 4 p.m. In case of rain, the event will be held in the Visitor’s Center at the Estate.
From a press release submitted by the Lafayette Society for Performing Arts.