The professional liars were out in force this weekend.

The professional liars were out in force this weekend.

Hot off of the Liar’s Challenge held last week at the Thirsty Goat, a wine and cheese event focused on “grown up stories” was held on Friday at Gulf Coast State College.

More than 100 people turned out to see professional storytellers Bob Patterson from St. Augustine, Pat Nease from Panama City and Robyn Rennick from Tallahassee.

Fourth-grader Chasity Finch, winner of the storytelling competition held at Port St. Joe Elementary School opened the show, and told her original story to get the crowd warmed up.

In short strokes, Finch’s story, her own creation, was a lesson on mice and not sleeping in a toilet. Don’t ask.

“We have a lot of outside visitors,” said Coastal Community Association President Pat Hardman. “It gives the winter visitors and event that they can come to and enjoy.”

Hardman pointed out visitors that had come from Panama City and Tallahassee for the event.

“Attendees are getting to hear theatre,” said Hardman. “It’s a more cultural event and the professional storytellers are bringing quality entertainment.”

The following morning, storytellers Nease and Rennick held a storytelling workshop for those interested in improving their skills.

Those in attendance began by sharing the stories behind their names and worked their way up to stories they could share at home or at work.

The storytellers provided tips and tricks when it came to presenting the story for an audience and making it visually interesting to watch.

“The opportunities for stories are endless,” said Nease. “There’s a difference between sitting at the dinner table and bringing a story to the stage.”

“It’s great to get the community involved alongside the professionals,” said Rennick. “It’s all about getting local stories out there.”

The event was sponsored by the CCA and the Port St. Joe Lion’s Club. Artwork crafted by students at Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School was also on display.

CCA Treasurer Brooks Jones coordinated the event and was proud to say that with four days’ worth of events, Shells and Tales had officially become a festival in 2014.

Jones said that storytelling is something that’s important to him and he enjoys sharing it with the community.

He said that as a child, it was a tradition in his family for his father to tell stories on the weekend and children from around the neighborhood would visit the Jones house to listen. The stories always ended on a cliffhanger to keep people coming back.

Jones said that he and his siblings carried on the tradition with their own children.”

“I’m happy to make this contribution to the community,” said Jones. “It was a good crowd and you could feel that they were enjoying.

“It was great to have locals and snowbirds attend and everyone made new friends.”