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2014 Featured Performers

Paul Halter

Paul Halter has been performing unique comedy juggling shows since 1992.  Paul combines top-notch juggling skills with audience interaction and distinctive humorous poetry to create an engaging performance.

We are pleased to have Paul Halter back for entertainment in the Children’s Area and on the Festival grounds.

Mike Speller

Mike was schooled in Minnesota to be a teacher and became an actor. Nearly 30 years later, he's performed for Walt Disney World, Nickelodeon Televisions, Fanny Hill Dinner Theatre, and a full plate of Chicago theatre companies. His story-career has sent him all over the country, fueled by his passion for classic ghost stories and his love for personal adventures. He presently teaches for a history museum in Illinois (the day job); but still caters to his trio of moonlighting jobs--storytelling, acting, and directing.

Mike is proud to be the black sheep of his family.

Rob Reid

Rob Reid's storytelling career started when he took an elective class for his Library Science graduate degree. It was called "Storytelling" and it changed his life. That was 30 years ago. Since then, he has told stories to thousands of kids as a "Children's Humorist" all across the United States and Canada. Rob specializes in funny original stories, humorous folktales, and musical activities. His shows are highly participative. He is the author of two picture books and 15 resource books for librarians and teachers, including Something Funny Happened at the Library, What's Black and White and Reid All Over?, and Silly Books to Read Aloud. Rob also has regular columns in Book Links and LibrarySparks magazines. In 2004, he was named the Wisconsin Librarian of the Year. He currently teaches Children's Literature and Literature for Adolescents at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Hans Mayer

Hans Mayer plays ear-tickling, child-oriented music with an irresistible sense of humor. People of all ages are immediately attracted to his playful, fun-loving personality and his magical, memorable songs that stimulate imaginations while building self-esteem.

Join us at the 12h Annual La Crosse Storytelling Festival on September 5 & 6, 2014, in beautiful La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Featuring: Mairtin de Cogain, Irish storyteller and musician, Mike Speller, stories to make you go Hmmm , and family and children's favorite, Rob Reid.

They will be joined by: nationally recognized children's musician, Hans Mayer, juggler and poet, Paul Halter, and Pam Thiel as Mary Todd Lincoln.


Pam Thiel

Pam Thiel is a 40-year resident of La Crosse, but grew up steeped in Lincoln lore in Ottawa, Illinois, the home of one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Her husband was a civil war reenactor. So she could accompany him to events, she dressed in various period clothing, including a black silk mourning dress. When she was dressed in black walking around encampments, soldiers would often tip their hats to her and say, “Good Day, Mrs. Lincoln!” This and an invitation by the La Crosse Historical Society to make a presentation on Mary Todd Lincoln spurred the creation of the one-woman show, A Visit with Mary Todd Lincoln. Pam recently retired from a rewarding career in aquatic biology with the Wisconsin DNR and US Fish and Wildlife Service. She is also active in the American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters. Her next “herstory” is going to be Eleanor Roosevelt.

Máirtín de Cógáin
Máirtín de Cógáin is a singing, dancing, bodhrán playing storyteller. He performs in his native Ireland and all over the U.S…. and between and beyond, too! An infectious personality, Máirtín pleasantly commands the attention of any collection of people, from a concert hall to an intimate porch. Descended from a long line of storytellers and with two CCÉ All-Ireland's for Storytelling under his belt, Máirtín gets no more joy out of life than the telling of tales. If you are lucky enough to catch him spinning a few yarns, you are in for a treat.  When touring the globe with The Máirtín de Cógáin Project & The Fuchsia Band, Máirtín is also a true promoter of the ballad.  He is searching ever for those forgotten songs of old to give them new life, and also writes some of his own.  Máirtín has also been seen threading the boards as a playwright and actor, most notably in the film The
Wind that Shakes the Barley and recently playing De Bogman off-broadway in NY. Growing up in a house full of dancing, Máirtín could not but help teach the steps at the family run Céilís from an early age, and a gifted teacher of Cork’s folk dances he is. The La Crosse area may know de Cógáin from his exploits over the years at the LaX Irish Fest. He has been living across the muddy water in Rochester these last 5 winters and this is his first time at our lovely event.