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The Art Of Storytelling On Display Saturday

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
The Art Of Storytelling On Display Saturday

A tall tale or two, maybe a few yarns, and loads of good stories will be in the air Saturday as Cookeville presents its 11th annual Storyfest In The Park.

Cookeville Museums Manager Beth Thompson said the event gives locals the chance to showcase their talent, while residents also get the chance to hear from world-class storytellers.

“Professional storytelling is similar to stand-up comedy in a lot of ways,” Thompson said. “It’s a longer story, but it’s always a lot of laughs along the way. Sometimes it’ll tug at your heartstrings, too, but it’s always funny. We have people just rolling in the aisles, so I think people will really enjoy it if they haven’t tried it before.”

Thompson said the event attracts storytellers from across the region. Many can talk for an hour at a time. Thompson said they are perfectionists who really work at their craft. Being close to the epicenter of southern storytelling, Jonesborough, TN, helps Cookeville’s event.

“The international storytelling center is located there, so we’re really lucky to be able to siphon off some of that talent to come to our story fest in Cookeville,” Thompson said.

This year’s headliners include Donna Washington, who learned the art of stories through her father’s telling of Greek mythology. Josh Goforth became interested in storytelling learning the history of his home community in North Carolina. He later studied the arts at East Tennessee State.

While the word may be all about sharing photos on social media, Thompson said we rely on stories to build our history.

“You know, the very first telling of history was through stories,” Thompson said. “And that’s why we at the Cookeville History Museum and the Department of Leisure Services put on this festival. Because the origins go back so far, and it is such an oral tradition, you know. We just can’t let it go. And the fact that people are still out there doing this ancient art form is just amazing.”

The free event will include many other activities scattered throughout Dogwood Park Saturday. The event runs 10am-5:30pm. The Amateur Storytelling Competition takes place at 1:30pm. The event is free.


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