‘Nuf fun’?

Third ‘Tongue Twister’ event

Tongue Twister Tournament is back.

The third-annual benefit for Hood River Start Making A Reader Today (SMART) will be April 26 at Hood River Middle School.

The SMART nonprofit literacy program serves elementary students in Hood River County.

The tournament is a spelling bee-style competition among local residents, but instead of spelling out words, contestants must flawlessly repeat tongue twisters — ala “‘round the rugged rock, the ragged rascal ran,” but slightly more complex.

The evening kicks off with an appearance by Mark Saltveit, a Portland comedian and world champion palindromist. Saltveit publishes The Palindromist magazine and recently mounted the first Symmys awards, an international event honoring spoken and written palindromes — phrases that are spelled the same frontwards and backwards.


Tongue Twister Tournament

April 26, 7 p.m.

Hood River Middle School auditorium

Admission: $5 at the door.

Note: program will begin promptly at 7.

Among Saltveit’s palindromes are: “Stare, elf, is a tuber Irish, sir? I rebut as I flee rats” and “Evita, gentle, felt negative.”

Returning to defend her 2012 Tongue Twister Tournament crown will be Kim Vogel, principal at Cascade Locks and Parkdale Elementary schools. Also on the slate of contestants are County Commissioner Maui Meyer, actor Tom Burns, Kristen Reese of The Next Door, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mike Glover, Janet Davis of Our Children’s Place, Riverside UCC Pastor Vicki Stifter, HRVHS senior Duncan Krummel, fresh off his role as Hamlet, and his mother, HRVHS drama director Rachel Harry.

The audience can also try their hands at open mic tongue twisters and win prizes for perfect recitation.

Tongue twisters in the competition and in open mic will be a combination of the familiar — some dating back hundreds of years — and others written expressly for the competition and never heard before. Palindromes will also be mixed in as tongue twisters.

“This year, with Mark Saltveit’s help, we’re celebrating language and literacy by pairing the two mischievous cousins of word play, tongue twisters and palindromes. On their own, the forms are a lot of fun to speak and to hear, and we think that combining them will give the evening an added zest,” said tournament organizer Kirby Neumann-Rea.

SMART: The program serves children grades K-3. Adult volunteers and kids read for an hour a week and the kids get to take home two books a month. Oregon SMART is assisting in the event, and representatives will be on hand to provide information on the service.

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