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From left, campers Iris Anderson, Connor Delehant, Jane Kelly and Allie Vermeulen listen to Aunt Sally (played by Dakota Players actor/director Carolyn Willems Van Dijk), at center, tell stories about Tall Taleville during rehearsal for "Campfire Tales," which shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre in Mitchell. Tickets are $5, and are available at the theater at 996-9137 or mitchellact.org. (Candy DenOuden/Republic)

Tall tales, around the campfire

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Ever want to meet Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill?

Head on over to the Pepsi-Cola Theatre in Mitchell this weekend, and you'll get your chance.

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Starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the theater, Dakota Players will present the children's production of "Campfire Tales," featuring a host of America's favorite legendary characters. Tickets are $5, and are available at the theater at 996-9137 or mitchellact.org.

Carolyn Willems Van Dijk and her husband, Harrison Fry, actor/directors for the show with Dakota Players, said the story starts at a summer camp. When the campers get bored, Aunt Sally treats them to stories about Tall-Taleville, where the new mayor takes on the way of life to which the town's legendary characters are accustomed.

Willems Van Dijk said about 25 kindergarten through eighth-grade children are in the production, which held auditions on Monday and began rehearsals later that day. Rehearsals continue every evening this week, until Friday's opening performance.

She said Dakota Players, based out of Sioux Falls, visits a different community or school each week around South Dakota. While the company has visited Mitchell before, she said it's the first time for her and Fry.

Mitchell's show is sponsored by the Mitchell Area Community Theatre, with support provided by the Department of Tourism and State Development, the National Endowment for the Arts.

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