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> Culture

The National Storytelling Festival   

ONLINE: A Zoom invitation link will be sent one day before each class session begins.

The engaging delivery of a well-polished story is a folk tradition in much of the world. It is a skill preserved longest in areas most isolated from mass entertainment. One such area is southern Appalachia, so when the first national festival was created in 1973, an appropriate location was the town of Jonesborough, Tennessee. This attractive small town is the oldest in Tennessee, and was the intended capital of the almost-state of Franklin. From a modest beginning, the festival has grown to become America’s largest and most highly-regarded storytelling event. Audiences of over 10,000 show up for the annual three-day gathering in October. They move freely between five or six circus tents, choosing from a variety of performers. In the two sessions of this class, we will enjoy video samplings of some of the festival favorites from recent years. John A. Stewart is a retired software developer with degrees in biology from the University of Michigan. Encouraged by a friend who has attended several times, he agreed to take in the 50th annual festival in 2022 and soon after, decided he wanted to return for the 51st this year.



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