A total of 740 tickets were sold for this year's festival, compared to 525 tickets last year and 479 for the first festival in 2008. For the first time this year, visitors didn't have to buy a full weekend pass for $30 and instead could purchase a one-day ticket for $20.
"Without a doubt we will do that again next year," said Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau public relations director Stephanie Lynch. "It made a big difference in getting the 18-to-40 demographic."
Ticket sales totals do not include 2,300 students who attended the festival on school field trips Friday. Student participation was down slightly this year because of Missouri Assessment Program testing scheduling conflicts, said Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Chuck Martin.
Audiences were entertained by six nationally known performers in two tents in downtown Cape Girardeau -- one at the corner of Main and Merriwether streets and a second at Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus.
The festival is starting to gain a national reputation among storytelling fans for offering top talent at an affordable price, Martin said.
"It's an outstanding deal. Tickets to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, Tenn., are $150 plus. Donald Davis and Kevin Kling, who told at our festival, also tell at the national festival," Martin said.
The use of social media outlets this year also contributed to the increased attendance.
"All the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links reached a different audience and reinforced the message people were receiving through traditional media as well," Martin said.
New this year was the option to buy tickets online at the Storytelling Festival's website and on its Facebook page. A total of 294 tickets were bought in advance of the festival this year.
The 2011 Storytelling Festival is set for April 8 to 10. Storytellers include Willy Claflin, Bil Lepp, Elizabeth Ellis and the Rev. Robert Jones. For more information, visit www.CapeStorytelling.com.
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