National Storytelling Festival

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Storytelling Festival, National

First weekend in October
A three-day festival in Jonesborough, Tenn., the National Storytelling Festival was started in 1973 to revive the ancient folk art of storytelling. The popularity of storytelling seemed to be dying, replaced by radio, television, and movies. The first festival was the idea of Jimmy Neil Smith, a Jonesborough schoolteacher who became executive director of the festival's sponsor, the National Association for the Preservation and Perpetuation of Storytelling (now known as the Storytelling Foundation International), which was formed in 1975 and is headquartered in Jonesborough. That first event drew about 60 people. At first, people sat on bales of hay, then the festival moved to kitchens and parlors and porches, and finally into the large tents that are used now. The festival has inspired scores of similar events around the country as well as college courses in storytelling.
About 6,000 people now attend to listen to storytellers relate ghost stories, sacred stories, ballads, tall tales, myths, legends, and fairy tales. Restaurants set up food booths, and a resource tent provides tapes and other material. The 20th-anniversary celebration in 1992 brought together more than 80 storytellers who had all appeared at previous festivals. A highlight was a special ghost-story concert by tellers of supernatural tales.
See also Tellabration and Yukon International Storytelling Festival
International Storytelling Center
116 W. Main St.
Jonesborough, TN 37659
800-952-8392 or 423-753-2171; fax: 423-913-8219
GdUSFest-1984, p. 174
References in periodicals archive ?
Special events range from championship NASCAR racing at the Bristol Motor Speedway to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, from Fun Fest and Heritage Days to the popular Apple Festival.
In early October 2001, Roy was featured at the 29th annual National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, in a program titled "Roy, the Reverend and the Devil's Music.
In our stories we entertain, but we also inform, teach, establish moral precedents, record history, remind ourselves of genealogy, lay down laws,'' writes Jane Yolen in the introduction to ``Best-Loved Stories Told at the National Storytelling Festival.

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