Storytellers to give all-encompassing vision of Mukilteo’s past

By LaVendrick Smith | Aug 08, 2012
Courtesy of: Christopher Summitt Christopher Summitt and Diane Tinsley of the Mukilteo Storytellers take listeners on a trip through Mukilteo’s early history. The Mukilteo Storytellers will be re-enacting Mukilteo history at the 47th annual Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival Sept. 7-9.

No tale is off limits for the Mukilteo Storytellers, who promise to share all of Mukilteo’s secrets – the good, the bad, and even the ugly – at the 47th annual Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival Sept. 7-9.

Throughout the weekend, the group will be performing at in and around Lighthouse Park, telling stories about the early days of Mukilteo. Actors will dress in clothing from the period of the pioneer they’re portraying.

The theme this year for the storytellers is “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” because the group intends to tell the entire history of Mukilteo, including the most serious issues. Stories will range from construction of the lighthouse to local rum smugglers during Prohibition.

“We want diversity,” said storyteller Diane Tinsley. “We’re a family-based program, but on occasion we talk about some of the other kind of funny incidents that we look back on now as what life was like in the early 19th and 20th centuries.”

Tinsley portrays Louisa Fowler Sinclair, the daughter of Mukilteo’s co-founder J.D. Fowler.

The group will showcase their stories in six half-hour programs throughout the weekend. These include appearances at the Harbour Pointe Retirement and Assisted Living Center and the Hogland House, a bed and breakfast near Pioneer Cemetery.

At Lighthouse Park, the group will perform at the band shell. A schedule has not yet been determined. Storytellers will also be scattered throughout the park to give mini history lessons to festival-goers.

“These are our Mukilteo family stories,” said Christopher Summitt, another storyteller. “These are the good, the bad, the sneaky – they’re our past.”

Summitt portrays Jacob Fowler, co-founder of Mukilteo.

When he’s not reliving Mukilteo history, Summitt is a tour guide at Boeing’s Future of Flight museum – a job he said prepares him well for storytelling.

“I’m used to collecting audiences together and working with groups of people as part of my daily work,” he said. “So for me, it’s very easy to talk up a crowd and direct things.”

Storyteller Sheila McGillivray will also help talk up crowds. She plays Alice McGill, a former teacher at Rosehill School.

“I really like the history of the school, so I enjoy portraying the teacher,” McGillivray said. “It’s fun to get out and expose this [history] to people who never knew about any of it if we didn’t tell them.”

The storytellers researched their pioneers through books written by Opal McConnell, a Mukilteo pioneer. They perform other reenactments throughout the year.

“I enjoy making contributions to remembering Mukilteo history,” Summitt said. “We’re all very involved with learning about and perpetuating the memory of the early days of Mukilteo.”

Tinsley said the reenactments help her see the progress Mukilteo has made as a city.

“When I put myself in the shoes someone wore 150 years ago, I think of all the changes that happened since then,” she said. “A younger person tends to think about looking back and what wasn’t, I tend to look at the exciting things that have happened over those years and how they relate to the future.”

LaVendrick Smith is an intern for the Mukilteo Beacon.

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