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Storytelling expedition makes way down Mississippi, stops in Ste. Gen

Story telling expedition makes way down Mississippi, stops in Ste. Gen

Victoria Bradford Styrbicki, right, stands with members of her support team as they prepare to launch the Relay of Voices: Great River Run near Lake Itasca, Minn., last month. The Great River Run is a travel documentary, duathalon and storytelling expedition on a journey from one end of the Mississippi River to the other and will make a two-day stop in Ste. Genevieve on Thursday and Friday.

A travel documentary, duathlon and storytelling expedition journeying from the headwaters to the mouth of the Mississippi River will make a two-day stop in Ste. Genevieve on today and Friday. 

Relay of Voices: Great River Run was spearheaded by Victoria Bradford-Styrbicki, an artist, journalist, dancer, athlete, and storyteller. With the assistance of a support team, the Relay of Voices program began its journey on July 9 at the headwaters of the Mississippi River near Lake Itasca in Minnesota. Their journey can be followed at https://relayofvoices.com/.

Bradford-Styrbicki said she's planning to be cycling, running and even dancing the entire length of the river, conducting interviews along the way.

“Through the Relay of Voices: Great River Run, I wanted to embark on a mission to document communities and collect stories all along the Mississippi River, seeking out the common voice of home and rootedness and community connections,” Bradford-Styrbicki explained. “In each town or city, we will share the stories that we have gathered upstream and hopefully we will foster an increased sense of connectedness among the peoples along the way.”

Bradford-Styrbicki said, by the end of the trip, she and her team will have traveled more than 2,400 miles and will have collaborated with 104 towns and cities along the way.

Some of the other communities Relay of Voices visited before arriving in Ste. Genevieve include Hannibal, Clarksville, St. Charles and Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. Part of the expedition is carried out as a “duathalon,” with the athlete running at the start of the day, cycling the middle stretch – typically between 20 and 40 miles-- and then switching back to running as they enter the next community. Bradford-Styrbicki is the primary runner, joined periodically by her husband, Tom.

In Ste. Genevieve, the relay is expected to cross the Mississippi on the Ste. Genevieve–Modoc Ferry about 11 a.m. today, then will run to Main Street Park, where the team will arrive about 11:30 a.m. 

Bradford-Styrbicki said a group of local schoolchildren will join Mayor Paul Hassler in welcoming them. The public is welcome to help greet Bradford-Styrbicki at Main Street Park on Thursday and attend a free program at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Welcome Center, where she will share the story of her journey, impressions and stories from communities they have visited, and gathering more stories to be relayed further down the river.

The team will follow the course of the Mississippi River from July through November. The stop in Ste. Genevieve marks the halfway point for the project, since 1,236 miles will have been covered, with approximately 1,200 remaining.

For more information, contact the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center at 573-883-7097.

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