Every year since 1992, the city of Guadalajara transforms itself into a celebration, a unique celebration with a two-fold character, cultural and participant, as the collaboration of the public is a key element of the storytelling marathon.
It’s the celebration of the word. During the 46 hours of the second or the third weekend of June (from 5 pm on Friday to 3 pm on Sunday), the Palacio del Infantado transforms into a magical stage inhabited by hundreds for storytellers - children, adults, individuals, groups, professionals, amateurs...from here and from there... - all willing to share with the thousands of listeners their stories, anecdotes, narrations, poems...
The unique personality of the Guadalajara Storytelling Marathon is that it is based on something as intangible as the word, the thousands and thousands of words knitted by the storytellers, day and night, a weekend when sleep and meals become secondary because these words nourish the soul.
The Marathon is constituted by the following activities:
A 46-hours interrupted session of oral narration.
A Photography Marathon (all the narrators and activities are photographed by the Agrupación Fotográfica de Guadalajara).
A Radio Marathon (all the stories are broadcasted via Radio Arrebato, a radio run by students).
An Illustration Marathon (illustrating in real time the characters and landscapes described in the stories).
A Music Marathon.
Several colloquiums given by experts in oral narrative.
Workshops related with oral literature.
Exhibitions (including, among others, the illustrations and photographs made during the Marathon).
The Chimney of Stories (an intimate stage for shy storytellers).
Street Performances by professional artists that create a special ambiance in the city during the weekend, all around the topic of the Marathon.
The Traveling Word: sessions of oral narrative at hospitals, senior residences and other institutions to bring the stories to the people that cannot come to the main venue of the Marathon.
The Traveling Marathon: mini-marathons in around 20 towns in the province.
The Festival of Professional Oral Narrators: consisting on four to five one-hour sessions each evening (on Friday and Saturday) by professionals of oral literature (it takes place at a local theater).
The Story-ride: a bike circuit to the most significant corners of the city where stories and anecdotes are told.
In total, about 700 stories are told during each marathon by more than a thousand storytellers (there are more storytellers than stories because some of the stories are told by a group of people).
There are many ways to participate in the Marathon, other than telling stories: about two hundred volunteers collaborate in the organization and, more importantly, there are the thousands and thousands of listeners (around 30.000) that are really the protagonists of the Marathon. Many come from the city, but others come from other towns, other countries and even other continents.
There Marathon has one single operating rule: the stories should be narrated, cannot be read. Thank to this, we can say that many of the citizens in Guadalajara have become excellent storytellers, but more than that, this city has the best listeners of the world. There is nothing like coming to the Palacio del Infantado any of the Marathon’s nights, well after midnight, to find in its beautiful inside patio about 1.500 people listening to the stories in perfect silence.