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Johnson City TN - National Storytelling Festival

Updated on June 3, 2013



Eastern Tennessee

Johnson City, Tennessee is one of the cities among those having the Top 10 Lowest Cost of Living Indexes in America in 2011 - 2012. These cities offer cheaper costs for housing, utilities, food and other items than the national index, which is 100. Kiplinger Magazine and Sperling's Best Places report the city cost of living index at 86.6 or 87, much under the national figure of 100, and far below the highest in the nation - New York City with a 159. The index for Johnson City is a bit over half of that for NYC.

With a population just over 62,000, the Johnson City is located in East Tennessee near the Kentucky border and at the edge of the Cherokee National Forest. Interstate 26 bisects the city from southeast to northwest. Locally, Johnson City is one of the Tricities that include Bristol TN/VA (Bristol crosses a state line) and Kingsport TN (see the map offered below).

Median home cost in the metro area is reported at $140,000 in various sources published during 4th QTR 2011. However, according to the real estate site Zillow, mid-February included 950 homes for sale in a range of $129,000 to $6.4 Million and a median of $229,000, a much higher figure. Apartment and condo rentals were listed at the same time in a range generally of $385 to $1,500.

Tricities Area

show route and directions
A markerJohnson City TN -
Johnson City, TN, USA
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B markerKingsport TN -
Kingsport, TN, USA
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C markerBristol TN/VA -
Bristol, TN, USA
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38th International Festival

Exerpt: Adam & Eve's Neighbors

National Storytelling Festival

Interestingly, a high school teacher on a field trip heard Jerry Clower, the old Grand Ole Opry comic and tent revivalist speaker, telling stories on the radio. This teacher, Jimmy Neil Smith, got an idea. Mayor Jimmy decided that his town Jonesborough, near Johnson City, could do with a storytelling festival. It began in 1973 with a hay wagon and some bales of hay for seats and has continued ever since. Of course, it is much larger now and has several divisions of events and entertainment - including an open mike day called Swappin' Ground.

With no storytellers in my family, I was intrigued by short stories in our English classes and short books read to us by our teachers in school, and by Cowboy Poetry featured in television programming and in local poetry clubs and storyteller's societies in Central Ohio. It was all fascinating.

The City of Columbus has held Music In the Air musical and poetry concert performances in a large urban park for decades -- In these free performances at the Park of Roses, the poems presented are stories and when accompanied by sign language interpreters, they become even more fascinating bits of storytelling.

At some very wonderful times, the American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation of a poem, song, or story results in a more magnificent narrative and greater emotional impact than arises from the spoken word or lyric alone in these concerts. Standing ovations take over after a series of spoken poem, poem and ASL interpretation, and then the ASL version alone.

Native North American storytelling is spellbinding and Western Ohio is home to several Algonquian Storytellers, some of whom operate living history museums and ranches. Wrap all of these types of events together, and you have a bit of the spirit of the National Storytelling Festival held in Johnson City, Tennessee each year.

The international festival offers a Ghost Stories Concert, along with a Midnight Cabaret for adults. An Exchange Place event includes storytellers from all across America. An event that commemorates the very first of these festivals n Tennessee is called the Swappin' Ground, where anyone can get up and tell a story.

Buffalo Mountain Park

Important Local Assets

The vicinity of Johnson City offers a substantial number of locally appreciated assets in Health and Medical Care & Instruction; Higher Education & Training; State and National Historical Sites; Sports & Recreation; and Annual Festivals besides the gala poetry-fest mentioned above. Some of the most important assets include:

Health and Medical

  • Frontier Health - Services for mental health, substance abuse, dual-diagnoses, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and vocational rehabilitation.
  • James H. Quillen College of Medicine and V. A. Medical Center‎
  • Johnson City Medical Center
  • Woodridge Medical Center

Higher Education

  • East Tennessee University and College of Medicine - Permanent Exhibit of the Archives of Appalachia
  • Emmanuel Christian Seminary
  • ITT Technical Institute
  • Milligan College
  • Tri-City Beauty College
  • University of Tennessee

A Welcoming Fossil From the Gray Fossil Site

Every fossil has its own story to tell.
Every fossil has its own story to tell. | Source

Historical Significance

Sports and Recreation

Annual Festivals

  • National Tartan Day - April 1 every year.
  • Storytelling Events - Spring and Summer annually.
  • Historic Jonesborough Days - July
  • National Storytelling Festival - October - Storytelling extravaganza, regional festival.
  • December Progressive Dinner and Home Tour

Top 10 High Demand Jobs

  1. Registered Nurses (RN)
  2. Patient Care Technicians
  3. Physical and Occupational Therapists - Salaries start at $50,000/year
  4. Engineers - Chemical, Mechanical, Hardware, Analysts
  5. Insurane Sales
  6. Physician's Office Assistants
  7. Physicians
  8. Financial Advisors - Edward Jones company.
  9. Nurses - LPNs
  10. Managers

Employers Hiring Engineers

Salaries: $50,000 to over $100,000 per year.

  1. Eastman Chemical Company
  2. BAE Systems
  3. Siemens Industry, Inc.
  4. Kelly Automotive Services Group
  5. BCTI
  6. Randstad - Engineering Division
  7. The Albrecht Group
  8. A. O. Smith Corporation
  9. Regal-Beloit
  10. Ingersoll Rand

Top Employers Listing Jobs

  1. Holston Valley Medical Center
  2. Bristol Regional Medical Center
  3. CVS Pharmacy
  4. Dining - McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, other
  5. Edward Jones - Finance Products
  6. Best Buy - Home Electronics and Entertainment
  7. Wellmont Physician Services
  8. Lowe's Hardware and Home Stores
  9. HealthSouth
  10. Wellmont Health System and Cardiology Services


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I'll join you in that prayer! Air conditioner motors must burn out a lot.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Yes - I was blazing hot here, and got even hotter when the fires hit. But, I've been here forever, and I love it . . . (praying for better weather this year!).

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Friends in south central Texas told me they had almost five months of 100 degree and hotter weather last year. That would be too much for me.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      You always have such amazing information! I'm not sure I'll work in Johnson City TN (maybe Johnson City TX!), but I am quite curious about the storytelling event! Great hub. Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I will definitely be there the next time I travel to Tennessee! Hope readers come on down as well.Thanks!

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Thanks Patti for spotlighting my hometown, Johnson City TN. We are glad to have the National Storytelling Festival in nearby Jonesborough TN (Tennessee's oldest town)as highlighted in a hub I wrote in Sept of 2010. We welcome all to come visit and sample our southern hospitality...

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      And there is so much to experience there. Friends in Nashville like to go there on vacation.

    • The Corniwhistler profile image

      The Corniwhistler 5 years ago from Kansas City Metropolitan Area

      I love the Tri-Cities! I went to Appalachian State and always flew out of that little airport there. Thanks for writing the article. I will see if I find a reason to move back. :-)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Isn't it fantastic? I love these events too.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      A Storytelling Festival! Wow, that I would love to attend! This is great. No wonder Ghost32 tells such great stories!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I love Johnson TN I have friends that live there. I love to visit there.. . Great hub..

      voted up