The first True Tales Told Live of the season will cap off Startup Week at 6 p.m. Friday at Odie’s Deli in Soldotna.
True Tales Told Live launched in April 2016 as the brainchild of Kaitlin Vadla, Pegge Erkeneff and Jenny Neyman. Three or four times each winter — if the expansive November to April definition of winter is used — seven members of the community get up and tell seven-minute stories.
Erkeneff is the communications liaison for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, but she’s also a writer and author.
“I love stories and the way they build community,” she said. “We wanted to create a space where everybody could listen to each other.”
Each storytelling event has been held at Odie’s Deli. Owner Megan Weston became familiar with the format and figured it would be a good fit for Startup Week. Startup Week is a national event that brings together local entrepreneurs, and Kenai and Soldotna are participating in the event for the first time this week.
The week is being coordinated by Pam Parker, owner of Everything Bagels in Soldotna. Parker agreed with Weston that True Tales Told Live would be a great way to cap the week. So the theme of “Risky Business: Tales of taking the leap” was born. The evening will give seven people the opportunity to tell about a foray into business.
Erkeneff said the event has become popular, drawing standing-room-only crowds of about 100 people.
“It’s just fun,” Erkeneff said. “People leave politics and religion at the door and come in and hear stories from neighbors that are true and real.
“There’s a vulnerability that comes with that. It’s not easy to get up and share and speak in front of a crowd of your neighbors, some that are strangers and some that are friends. You laugh and you cry. It’s a fun night to come together.”
No notes are allowed during the seven-minute presentation. Because of the difficulty of speaking, Erkeneff said the seven speakers are rarely set in stone in the days leading to the event, so she encouraged anyone interested in speaking Friday to send a private message on the True Tales Told Live Facebook page.
“Even if we don’t have any spots left on Friday, we’ll know they’re interested for the future,” Erkeneff said.
While the speaker slots don’t always fill up quickly, the tables at Odie’s during the event can be a different matter.
“Come in, order a beer, wine, soda, a sandwich or some food,” Erkeneff said. “Meet people you’ve never met before and come listen to live storytelling.”
There also will be live music Friday. Neyman, the general manager of KDLL, plans on recording the event to broadcast it later.
Erkeneff said this will likely be the first of three storytelling nights this session, with another in January or February, and the final one in April.