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the National Storytelling Festival

Updated on September 14, 2012

Reflections, now happening…

It’s that time of year again.  Get ready for an increase in traffic and waiting for the traffic to clear at inter-sections.  ‘Leave early’ if you must travel through this quaint little town next weekend.  Why the confusion?  What’s happening?  If you’re a local, you know what’s going on.  Visitors and spectators are beginning to hear the buzz as they scurry to change their plans or itineraries.  And if you are just traveling through you are asking, “Why are all these people here in this small East Tennessee community?”  No place to park, people crossing the streets and highways in droves, the smell of cotton candy and funnel cakes filling the air… It’s the 38th annual National Storytelling Festival held each year in Tennessee’s oldest town, Jonesborough Tennessee.

Donald Davis
Donald Davis

the largest and oldest event of its kind in America

This occasion is the largest and oldest event of its kind in America; the National Storytelling Festival attracts audiences from across the United States and the world. Jimmy Neil Smith, the founder of the festival and president of the International Storytelling Center (ISC) says, “The festival is a powerful demonstration of storytelling’s universal appeal. As millions of story lovers from all over the world know, there is no substitute for the power, simplicity, and basic truth of a well-told story.” Since the very first festival in 1973, people have gathered in Jonesborough each year with families and friends to listen, as well as tell stories while paying tribute to the world’s finest stories, storytellers, and storytelling traditions.”

“the leading event of its kind in America”

Produced by the ISC, the three-day outdoor festival features performances by internationally-known artists and has been hailed as “the leading event of its kind in America” by USA Today.  This year’s featured performers include audience favorites Donald Davis and Kathryn Windham, regional voices like Andy Offutt-Irwin and Bill Lepp, and international perspectives from Eth-Noh-Tec and Abbi Patrix

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“The broad range of stories and artists enchant all ages and speaks to people of all backgrounds"

Whether you’re an avid storytelling fan who has attended for many years or a first timer, the event offers a unique experience for all.  “During the Festival weekend, visitors will experience a wealth of cultures, traditions and styles” says Susan O’Connor, ISC’s, Director of Programs.  “The broad range of stories and artists enchant all ages and speaks to people of all backgrounds.”

Storytelling concerts, which are held under big-top tents, scattered across the historic town, begin at 10 AM on October 1, and continuing until 4:30 PM on October 3.  This year’s Festival features performances by more than 25 storytellers who deliver traditional tales, multicultural folklore, contemporary legends, and more for everyone’s enjoyment.

"come on down..."

If you happen to be in the area, or if you live close-by and have nothing better to do this weekend, why not plan a side trip to my little ‘neck-of-the-woods.’ I can guarantee you’ll laugh all the way back home.

© 2010 SamSonS


Submit a Comment

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    and thank you my friend, I just wish you were here to attend, if you ever do come this way look me up, would love to sit and talk a while.

    blessings to you...

  • prasetio30 profile image


    8 years ago from malang-indonesia

    Another great hub from you. I love this festival. I hope I have a chance to attend this festival in person. Because I love storytelling, by this festival I hope the storytelling culture will never end. Thank you very much. I can't wait to rate this Up.

    Blessing and hugs,

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks Dave, your right! Each of us tell our stories (Hubs), the way we do to attract traffic...

  • Dave Mathews profile image

    Dave Mathews 

    8 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

    I think that most Hub writers are good at telling stories to the point that they actually share them on the NET.


  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks jacobkuttyta, for your comments and suggestions. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend myself...

  • jacobkuttyta profile image

    Siny J 

    8 years ago from Delhi, India

    Sorry, I am not able to attend the story telling festival. Please listen all the stories and write it on hubs.

    We would love to read them.

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks dahoglund for your nice remarks...

  • dahoglund profile image

    Don A. Hoglund 

    8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

    I am glad to see attempts to preserve these traditions.

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thank you lifegate. I wish you could come check it out, maybe next year. Wouldn't it be great if there was some kind of event planned where we 'hubbers' could come together and meet one another maybe on an annual basis. I would love to meet some of the friends we have made here on HubPages...

  • lifegate profile image

    William Kovacic 

    8 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


    Thanks for promoting this. If I were closer I think I'd like to come check it out. There's nothing like that here in the northeast, as far as I know anyway. Thanks again.

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    come on over carolina, they've already got the tents up. You can park in front of Jonesborough Elementary School and take the shuttle right down town, Everything is in walking distance. 'Come on down,' glad to have ya'...

  • carolina muscle profile image

    carolina muscle 

    8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    I think I'm gonna have to visit that one .. cool!!

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    and thank your drbj for your visit and your nice remarks...

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    8 years ago from south Florida

    This Storytelling Festival sounds delightful. Thanks for spreading the word, samsons.

  • samsons1 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks 50 for your rapid response, was wondering if I was going to get this out in time, signs are already going up and people are already pulling in front of the school bus just like in the video, but that's ok. I didn't 'wave' at anyone. Have a great day my friend.


  • 50 Caliber profile image

    50 Caliber 

    8 years ago from Arizona

    I found great humor in this and voted it up all the way across the board just lacking the "Finger" salute icon, that would be a good addition to a "sarcasm" as well, in humor though, thanks for a smile, 50


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