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2021 Susquehanna Folk Festival Liars Contest

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 Live-streamed at 7 pm Eastern

About This Event:

Love tall tales and shaggy dog stories? Tune into the Liars Contest, held online this year, during the fourth annual Susquehanna Folk Festival this summer!

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Ken Parsons Jason Sabol David Mayer Smith Ken Karnas Laurina Bergqvist Sandy Schuman Leslie Shelley Gary Buchanan closing graphic: 2021 liars

Our 2021 contestants, winners first: Ken Parsons, Jason Sabol, David Mayer Smith, Ken Karnas, Laurina Bergqvist, Sandy Schuman, Leslie Shelley, and Gary Buchanan.

Liars Contest

Love tall tales and shaggy dog stories? Tune into the Liars Contest, held online this year, during the fourth annual Susquehanna Folk Festival this summer!

The Liars Contest is a juried competition, emceed this year by the hilarious Andy Offutt Irwin. During the live-streamed contest, storytellers will present their best short, funny, family-friendly story, and our panel of judges will decide the top three liars. The audience gets to vote on their favorite too.

The contest will also feature a short performance by Andy Offutt Irwin to keep everyone entertained (and then some) while the judges make their decision.

Our 2021 Liars

Ken Parsons

Ken Parsons

Ken Parsons is a rhyming storyteller from Newfoundland Labrador, Canada. He says, “We have a history in our province of writing and sharing ‘recitations’... rhyming stories with usually a humorous slant.” Ken is a writer / teller of “Rural Legends” (also known as lies) about a small outport town called Raisin Arm.

Jason Sabol

Jason Sabol

Jason Sabol tells stories to fill the void in his soul created by his day job as an attorney. He lives in York with his son and two cats. All three are cute, and one of them scratches the furniture more than the other two. He likes to cook, enjoys a great cocktail, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of 90s rap music. Wu-Tang is for the kids.

David Mayer Smith

David Mayer Smith

David Mayer Smith grew up in Central Pennsylvania where “storyteller” was what you called a liar when you were being polite. Dave has been a storyteller all his life. Some of those stories are being collected into a show called “This Is Not A Documentary” premiering in Philadelphia this fall.

Ken Karnas

Ken Karnas

Ken Karnas is retired from a 42-year teaching career and is trying to spend as much time as he can outdoors on his bike or hiking in the woods. He can sometimes be found telling stories with other teller networks around New Jersey and New York. Fairy tales, legends, folklore, memoir — Ken loves them all and has shared his tales in libraries, museums, parks, and at tellabrations and storytelling festivals.

Laurina Bergqvist

Laurina Bergqvist

Laurina Bergqvist is a bilingual dual citizen with one foot in the US and the other foot in Sweden. After spending 30 years as a dedicated story listener, Laurina made the leap to becoming a storyteller. Now she proudly displays her Master’s degree in Storytelling and is constantly discovering new ways to tell old stories.

Sandy Schuman

Sandy Schuman

Sandy Schuman is fascinated by familiar things and their unfamiliar stories. He brings folk tales and historical sagas to life (“some of our folklore is truly unbelievable, some of our history is even more so”) and reveals the little-known stories behind some of our best-known songs. When you hear him play the guitar and sing, you’ll know why he calls himself a storyteller.

Leslie Shelley

Leslie Shelley

Leslie Shelley grew up on a family farm in the foothills of North Georgia (where she still lives today). Telling stories was just part of life, and she was blessed to be surrounded with wise women, proud men, and more than her share of “big fibbers.” Shelley believes the spoken word and a shared look is something more powerful than just about anything. She loves to tell and listen to people sharing life.

Gary Buchanan

Gary Buchanan

Gary Buchanan lives in Creston, West Virginia and has been lying since his childhood. He has participated in Liars Contests in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Gary often receives “Top Liar” when he competes, with occasional second or third place finishes. He has received a People’s Choice Award.

About our Judges

Sheila Arnold

Ms. Sheila is a full-time traveling storyteller and creator of “History's Alive!” She has a passion, vision and ministry of healing hearts, unifying communities and reminding people to share their stories.

JJ Sheffer

JJ is the producer of York Story Slam, York: Crafted, and several other arts & humanities programs in York County, Pennsylvania that focus on storytelling.

Mina Edmondson

Mina has her dream job: she is the director of Martin Library in downtown York, PA. She thrives on the energy of the City of York. Story Slams provide her opportunities to connect with her community.

About our Emcee:
Andy Offutt Irwin

Andy Offutt Irwin

With a silly putty voice, hilarious heart-filled stories, and amazing mouth noises (arguably, the greatest whistler in the world), one-person-showman Andy Offutt Irwin is equal parts mischievous schoolboy and the Marx Brothers, peppered with a touch of the Southern balladeer.

One of the most sought after performing storytellers in the United States, Andy is especially known for relating the adventures of his eighty-five-year-old-widowed-newly-minted-physician-aunt, Marguerite Van Camp, a woman who avoids curmudgeonship by keeping her finger on the pulse of the changing world around her as she seeks to grow – even at her advanced age – in the New South. Marguerite steps lively through this existence, loving as many people as she can.

October of 2019 marked Andy’s tenth year as a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival. He has appeared fourteen times as Teller in Residence at International Storytelling Center, and is a favorite performer at schools, universities, theatres and festivals. Andy is the recipient of many awards, but he is tickled as can be to have received the Oracle 2013 Circle of Excellence from the National Storytelling Network. Andy lives in Covington, Georgia and he thinks he is funny.

Andy Offitt Irwin describes his Aunt Marguerite's Etiquette for Practical Jokes

And on the afternoon of the contest, enjoy Andy's Wild Amphibian Show, featuring tadpoles, ridiculous parental questions, a five-gallon pickle jar, and a cat named Bootsie. Fun for all ages!

CD art for Andy's Wild Amphibian Show: 7-foot-tall frog; Andy dressed as a ringmaster; and a young woman in a lacy dress and ballet shoes en pointe on the frog's back

Andy's Wild Amphibian Show will be
livestreamed at 2pm on July 14:
a family program held in collaboration
with York County Libraries.

See the Contest

Liars Contest: 7 pm US Eastern Time

  • FREE admission, but please pre-register
  • logo: closed captioned Closed-captioned,
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A Folk Festival Event!

This event is part of the Endless Summer 2021 Susquehanna Folk Festival, coming to YOU this year with events all summer long.

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