Community Table 2023

Community Table 2023 Web Graphic

Join us around imaginary tables at the Des Moines Public Library’s second annual Community Table: Storytelling & Local Food Festival on Saturday, October 14th at Franklin Avenue Library!

Experience the oral tradition of storytelling throughout the day at the library as our featured storytellers share a diverse range of personal stories, folk tales and fairytales; then explore the food festival and children’s activities outside the library in the west parking lot.

Schedule of Events

NOTE: Acclaimed storyteller Nothando Zulu, who was scheduled to perform at the 2023 Community Table festival, passed away last month. Nothando was a pioneer in the storytelling community, co-founding the Black Storytellers Alliance, and she shared stories with audiences for more than 50 years. Condolences to all who were touched by her stories and her life.

Franklin Avenue Library Meeting Room

10:30 – Journey Through Latin America with Calle Sur (Children’s Session)

Get ready to sing and dance as Panamanian-Colombian duo Calle Sur shares songs and traditional stories from Mexico, Costa Rica, and Brazil during this bilingual, interactive program perfect for youngsters and those young-at-heart! 

12:30 – Around the Table: Folk and Personal Food Tales (Teen/Adult)

Food brings people together and inspires stories, so satisfy your imagination with delectable stories from our storytellers and then satisfy your appetite at our food fair outside the library!

  • Featuring stories from Darrin Crow, and Toni Simmons

2:00 – Folk and Fairytales Retold (Teen/Adult)

Once upon a time…storytellers gathered at Franklin Avenue Library to share their versions of beloved folk and fairytales. Spoiler alert: these aren’t the Disney versions.

  • Featuring stories from Darrin Crow, and Janice Del Negro

3:30 – Stories Alive! (All Ages)

Join renowned storyteller Toni Simmons as she brings multicultural folktales to life with rhythms, songs, and chants during this interactive storytelling session for all ages. Don’t forget to bring your creativity - Toni may guide the audience to join in the telling!


Franklin Avenue Library Green Space*

Children’s Activities at Franklin Field: 11:30-1:30

Come play carnival games and Simple Steps early literacy activities, plus face painting with Queen Bee!

12:00 PM - Bilingual Storytime with Rosie

Our children's librarians will tell fun stories, and you can meet Rosie and take pictures with her as well!

Please bring your own blankets and chairs. In case of inclement weather, children's activities and Rosie Storytime will be held inside the Northwest Community Center.

5:30 – Spooky Stories with Janice Del Negro; introduction by Maureen Korte

Celebrate the spooky season with stories from Janice Del Negro that will send shivers up your spine – all perfect for those who enjoy escaping reality!

The first stories told will be family-friendly, best for ages 6 and up. The stories later in the program are for teens to adults.

Please bring your own blankets and chairs. In case of inclement weather, Spooky Stories will be held inside the Franklin Avenue Library meeting room.

Event Details

Food and Community Vendors

  • Beaverdale Price Chopper
  • Bosco’s
  • Dinner Dispatch
  • Vegan in the Valley Junction
  • Veggie Thumper