Wordfest Just South of the Wild Dalas

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of presenting at Wordfest, a lovely conference held in the historic (and beautifully-restored) opera house in McPherson, KS. Thanks to the hard work of the local historic museum’s director, Carla Barber, this second-annual conference brought together a bevy of writers to luxuriate in words, stories, metaphors and meanings. I invite all of you to consider attending this conference next year in early April. It’s put on by a great group of people with wide-open backgrounds in many manner of words.

As you can see, I also clicked my heeled together, and ended up in Little Sweden, aka Lindsborg, KS where several years back, local artists started painting the traditional dala horses (which are usually red) some non-traditional ways. My very favorite Wild Dala for over a decade, since I first saw it and fell in love with it is the Dalai Lama Tele Comma, which combines, as befits its name, telephones, commas, and a bit of the Dalai Lama. This dala also made a great impression on my daughter, who remembers seeing the great horse of telephones and comma when she was only a toddler. Of course for both of us, a great part of the pleasure are simply the words of the name, which are very fun to say fast ten times.

Other Wild Dalas abounded, and I learned some about their history from Jim and Kathy Richardson, who run Small World Gallery, a marvel of a store (as are many others in this town). Kathy makes intriguing and beautiful jewelry (Ibis Women’s Jewelry), and Jim is an internationally-renowned photographer, recently honored with a Kansas Governor’s Arts Award. Seems someone started off with my favorite Wild Dala, and eventually, more Wild Dalas joined in. Now there are seemingly dozens of them dotting the downtown and welcoming visitors like me, even this skeleton dala.