One Festival, Three Days, and a World of Stories

October 4–6, 2019 Jonesborough Tennessee

The 47th annual National Storytelling Festival is October 4 – 6, 2019.

In addition to the main stage concerts—the heart and soul of the Festival—the International Storytelling Center curates special events Wednesday through Sunday. Please note that many of these events are ticketed separately. 

Get Your Tickets    Festival Schedule

As of today, the items listed below are only for Pre-Festival and Special Events throughout the weekend. Be sure to check back on September 20 for the full weekend schedule, including 26 Featured Tellers over 8 different venues! 

Time
Event
Tellers
Venue
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Time: 7:30 - 9:00 pm
Event: Donald Davis – Women Who Raised Me, Chapter One
Tellers: Donald Davis
Venue: Library Tent
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Tellers:

Donald Davis

Description:

A Pre-Festival Concert featuring Donald Davis at the Library Tent, Grounds of the National Storytelling Festival.   Women Who Raised Me, Chapter One   In my childhood, I had way more than one mama.  Meet Miss Annie and Miss Rosemary, who poured a lot of their lives and love into me – deserved or not! Separate ticket required, $20 all ages. For tickets or information call 800-952-8392 or Buy Now! Visit Donald’s website.
Time
Event
Tellers
Venue
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Time: 9:00 - 12:00 pm
Event: Susan O’Halloran – Speaking without Preaching
Tellers: Susan O'Halloran
Venue: International Storytelling Center
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Tellers:

Susan O'Halloran

Description:

Speaking Without Preaching How do you speak without sounding too opinionated or downright boring? Learn how to combine education and entertainment into stories that respect, enlighten, and emotionally move your audience. Topics include: influencing your audience in an uplifting way; avoiding lecturing; getting the tone right; developing rapport; and adding the crucial element of humor. Perfect for organizational leaders, ministers, and storytellers of all experience levels. Susan O’Halloran is a story consultant to Fortune 500 as well as nonprofi t organizations, and has appeared on PBS, ABC Nightline, and in The New York Times.
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Time: 1:00 - 5:00 pm
Event: Dan Hoyle – Intro to Journalistic Performance
Tellers: Dan Hoyle
Venue: International Storytelling Center
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Tellers:

Dan Hoyle

Description:

Intro to Journalistic Performance Dan Hoyle’s brand of journalistic performance has been hailed as “riveting, funny and poignant” by the New York Times. You’ll get an introduction to his process and participate in writing and physical movement exercises in this dynamic workshop with the award-winning writer, actor and former Fulbright scholar. Topics will include the journalism of hanging out, physical character creation, and the creative process. Appropriate for beginning or experienced storytellers and writers who are developing character pieces. Hoyle has toured his solo shows and led workshops across the country and abroad.
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Time: 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Event: Regi Carpenter – Getting to Grief: Storytelling in Bereavement
Tellers: Regi Carpenter
Venue: International Storytelling Center
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Tellers:

Regi Carpenter

Description:

Getting to Grief: Storytelling in Bereavement Improve your ability to support adults or children coping with loss in this interactive and informative workshop. Appropriate for therapists, hospice workers, clergy, bereavement counselors, social workers, and family and friends of those grieving the death of a loved one. Carpenter is the founder of Stories with Spirit, a creative initiative dedicated to bringing stories of hope to palliative care patients, families, and caregivers. She also trains medical professionals in the use of stories as narrative medicine.
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Time: 7:30 - 9:00 pm
Event: Jeanne Robertson – PreFestival Concert
Tellers: Jeanne Robertson
Venue: Library Tent
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Tellers:

Jeanne Robertson

Description:

Jeanne Robertson

Thursday, October 3 · 7:30 p.m. Tickets $20 A Special Performance in the Library Tent, tickets sold at Festival Registration or at the Concert. The National Storytelling Festival welcomes award winning humorist Jeanne Robertson. Make your plans now to hear nationally-known humorist Jeanne Robertson, who will appear in a pre-festival concert on Thursday evening, October 3rd. Jeanne has been featured on CBS's 60 Minutes, performed at the White House, and can be heard daily on Sirius XM Radio's Laugh USA. For tickets or information call 800-952-8392 or Buy Now! Visit Jeanne's website. -Sponsored by Carnegie Hotel
Time
Event
Tellers
Venue
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Time: 10:00 - 11:59 pm
Event: National Storytelling Festival
Tellers: TBD
Venue:
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Description:

The 47th annual National Storytelling Festival is October 4 – 6, 2019.
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Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Event: Snap! with Regi Carpenter
Tellers: Regi Carpenter
Venue: Tent on the Hill
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Tellers:

Regi Carpenter

Description:

The true story of a 16 year-old girl's descent into mental illness, her commitment to a state mental hospital, and her journey back to reality and freedom. Content appropriate for teens and adults. 
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Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Event: Perceptions: Wild Stories from my Brazilian Childhood
Tellers: Antonio Rocha
Venue: Creekside Tent
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Tellers:

Antonio Rocha

Description:

Welcome to Rocha's wild Latino upbringing featuring a witch as his next door neighbor and an uncle with a pet alligator. 
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Time: 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Event: Unlocking Nine Locks
Tellers: Laura Simms
Venue: Tent on the Hill
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Tellers:

Laura Simms

Description:

Dynamic combination of personal narrative with global mythology, fairytale, and folklore; explores the ancient roots and temporary repair of rape of all kinds: physical, environmental and spiritual. For teens and adults. 
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Time: 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Event: Alabama Stories
Tellers: Rev. Robert Jones
Venue: Creekside Tent
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Description:

The Jones family's relationship with their home state of Alabama, beginning with Robert's great-grandfather's experience fighting for his dignity. Exploring issues of race, justice, and family. 
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Time: 8:00 - 9:30 pm
Event: Dan Hoyle – Border People
Tellers: Dan Hoyle
Venue: International Storytelling Center
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Tellers:

Dan Hoyle

Description:

Border People Tickets sold separately: $20 Buy Now! Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall, International Storytelling Center Friday, October 4 · 8 pm Saturday, October 5 · 8 pm - Adult Content · Limited Seating Award-winning actor and playwright Dan Hoyle embodies 11 residents of various borders — geographic, cultural, religious, psychic, and racial — each based on Hoyle’s conversations with immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and border crossers of all kinds. "The show," says the San Francisco Chronicle, "is a testament to the courage and commitment to self that you have to have to live on the border, any sort of border, and be able to tell your truth about it." A gifted actor. So transformative and empathetic.Enthralling, sometimes heartbreaking, more often funny. Deeply moving. — SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER
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Time: 8:00 - 9:30 pm
Event: Ghost Stories
Tellers: Various Tellers
Venue: Mill Spring Park
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Description:

A beloved Festival tradition, two nights of fright await you in these open-air ghost story concerts featuring a different collection of haunting tales each night. Guest tellers and Festival veterans Charlotte Blake Alston and Dan Keding join other featured tellers on the Ghost Story Stage on both Friday and Saturday. Charlotte Blake Alston has performed in venues throughout North America and abroad, including the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Women of the World Festival in South Africa. She is a recipient of the NSN ORACLE Circle of Excellence award, the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, and the Zora Neale Hurston award. Dan Keding is well-known for his telling of personal narratives, ghost stories, world folktales, and superbly crafted original pieces. He has performed across the world, including festivals in England, Ireland and Canada. Keding’s numerous awards include the NSN ORACLE Storytelling Circle of Excellence Award. Stories at 8 p.m. each night in any kind of weather. It’s ground seating only, so remember to bring your blankets. Ghost story concerts are not recommended for children under 6.  Tickets available at Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall, at registration, and at the gate.
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Time: 10:30 - 11:59 pm
Event: Midnight Cabaret
Tellers: Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton - Midnight Cabaret Teller
Venue: College Street Tent
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Description:

Joyful Noise and the Low-Down Blues Tickets sold separately. Not recommended for children. Although only 30 years old, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton has earned a reputation for transporting audiences back to the 1920s and making them wish they could stay there for good. An amazing multi-instrumentalist — he plays banjo, guitar, piano, fiddle, harmonica, Cajun accordion, and the bones — his ability to transform traditional jazz, blues, folk, and country into the here and now, coupled with his humor and storytelling, make for a uniquely exciting evening. Paxton was featured on CNN’s “Great Big Story” and appeared in the award-winning music documentary “American Epic” produced by Robert Redford, Jack White, and T-Bone Burnett. “It’s not uncommon for his audiences to whoop, holler, and stomp in unison — hard enough to shake the door. Paxton shifts from piano to guitar to fiddle to a five-string banjo that looks like he time-traveled to the 1920s, stole it from a juke joint, and dropped it on the ground a few times on the way back.” —The Village Voice
Time
Event
Tellers
Venue
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Time: 10:00 - 11:59 pm
Event: National Storytelling Festival
Tellers: TBD
Venue:
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Description:

The 47th annual National Storytelling Festival is October 4 – 6, 2019.
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Time: 8:00 - 9:00 am
Event: Yoga in the Park
Tellers: TBD
Venue: The International Storytelling Center | Jonesborough, TN Storytelling Park
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Description:

Join storied yoga instructor Kim Blaine for a free guided practice woven with inspirations from Hindu mythology, yogic philosphies, historical narratives, and current events--a yoga experience that speaks to the mind and body. Limited number of mats provided 
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Time: 10:00 - 11:00 am
Event: The Code Talker
Tellers: Peter MacDonald
Venue: International Storytelling Center
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Tellers:

Peter MacDonald

Description:

Native American Code Talker Peter MacDonald hosted by Tim Tingle Saturday, October 5 · 10:00 am and 4:00 pm In the middle of World War II, when he was just 15 years old, Peter MacDonald enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. The final phase of his training was a top secret Navajo Code School. In the South Pacific, MacDonald and his fellow Code Talkers saved hundreds of thousands of lives with their unbreakable military code. Now 92, MacDonald has traveled to Jonesborough to share his remarkable story. Very limited seating; please make a reservation to avoid disappointment.  Call (800) 952-8392, ext. 222 or Buy Online. This performance is made possible through the Sonia King Estate.
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Time: 10:00 - 11:00 am
Event: Perpetual Calendar
Tellers: Andy Offutt Irwin
Venue: College Street Tent
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Description:

Aunt Marguerite loves to mark the passage of time. When the local bank removes its perpetual calendar, she feels time itself is taken away. 
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Time: 11:30 - 12:30 pm
Event: Story Alchemy
Tellers: Minton Sparks
Venue: International Storytelling Center
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Tellers:

Minton Sparks

Description:

Minton Sparks hosted by Kevin Kling Saturday, October 5 · 11:30 am Stories are like an ancient form of magic: they have a curious power to transform everything they touch. Sharing stories can build a relationship between two people, strengthen communities—and even change our understanding of ourselves. In this special studio, Minton Sparks shares the pleasures of watching a good story develop over time. Very limited seating; please make a reservation to avoid disappointment.  Call (800) 952-8392, ext. 222 or Buy Online.
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Time: 11:30 - 12:30 pm
Event: Fond Mammaries
Tellers: Barbara McBride-Smith
Venue: Courthouse Tent
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Description:

A light-hearted look at life when you're finally old enough to not care what anybody else thinks. 
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Time: 11:30 - 12:30 pm
Event: Of Magic and Mystery
Tellers: Mara Menzies - International New Voice
Venue: Tent on the Hill
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Description:

Drawing on her dual Scottish and African heritage, Menzies delves into the worlds of the wee folk, shape shifters, and orishas. 
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Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Event: From Boarding School to Alcatraz
Tellers: Tim Tingle
Venue: Courthouse Tent
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Tellers:

Tim Tingle

Description:

The story of Tingle's Choctaw great uncle, Clarence Canes. He attended a Jones Academy Indian Boarding School, where he was mistreated, excapted, and began a life of crime; he became the youngest inmate ever sentenced to Alcatraz Prison, where his life changed. 
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Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Event: Voices from Ellis Island
Tellers: Pippa White - New Voice
Venue: Tent on the Hill
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Description:

From 1892 to 1930, Ellis Isalnd was the first experience of life in America for millions of immigrants. Join 7 immigrants as they cross the Atlantic and Confront unexpected challenges. 
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Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Event: Sheila Arnold
Tellers: Sheila Arnold
Venue: Creekside Tent
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Tellers:

Sheila Arnold

Description:

Join storyteller Sheila Arnold as she brings to life true tales from the Underground Railroad. This special session begins a two-year ISC initiative; "Freedom Stories," focusing on the stories of African Americans in Appalachia history, exploring African America-led movements, contributions, and the shaping of a distinct and uniquely American storytelling tradition. The session includes an introduction from ISC President, and folklorist, Kiran Singh Sirah.    This session is made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and will be video recorded for documentation. 
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Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Event: Lead Belly: An American Legend
Tellers: Rev. Robert Jones
Venue: College Street Tent
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Description:

Based on the life and music of Huddie Ledbetter, a singer, musician, storyteller and tradition keeper whose life reflected the struggles of an African American man living between 1888 and 1949. 
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Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Event: Songs I have Made Up
Tellers: Andy Offutt Irwin
Venue: Library Tent
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Description:

A collection of old and new songs and the stories behind them. 
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Time: 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Event: Falling in Love with the World
Tellers: Laura Simms
Venue: Courthouse Tent
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Tellers:

Laura Simms

Description:

Simms weaves together personal tales with a Sufi fairytale in this performance in praise of the power of innate joy. 
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Time: 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Event: Red Altar
Tellers: Eth-Noh-Tec
Venue: Tent on the Hill
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Tellers:

Eth-Noh-Tec

Description:

In a small coastal area along Carmel Bay, six Chinese teenagers in 1850 survive a shipwreck and start the fishing industry despite mounting anti-Chinese violence. This untold American story celebrates courage, inner strength, and perseverance. 
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Time: 2:30 - 4:00 pm
Event: Of Rogues and Rascals
Tellers: Simon Brooks - New Voice
Venue: Creekside Tent
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Description:

Scamps, scalleywags, and scoundrels abound. Tricksters sometimes have their way, tricky lores get their due, and those in search of luck sometimes come undone! 
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Time: 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Event: Yeee Gods!
Tellers: Barbara McBride-Smith
Venue: Library Tent
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Description:

The myth-adventure on Mt. Olympus may remind you of the hidden hijinks in you own family closet. 
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Time: 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Event: Book Report
Tellers: Bil Lepp
Venue: Courthouse Tent
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Tellers:

Bil Lepp

Description:

There will be water polo tryouts at the local pool. Life jackets are provided, but you must bring your own horse. 
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Time: 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Event: Where There’s Smoke There’s Dinner
Tellers: Regi Carpenter
Venue: Tent on the Hill
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Tellers:

Regi Carpenter

Description:

Stories of Regi, growing up the youngest daughter in a family of 5 and living in a small town on a big river. 
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Time: 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Event: One of a Million Stars
Tellers: Sam Payne - New Voice
Venue: Creekside Tent
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Description:

Astronauts on fire, distant rovers, singing soldiers, and young lovers; when the night is dark, sometimes the only light comes from the remembered stories of the ones we come to know as family. 
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Time: 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Event: Three Chords, Five Notes: The Story of America’s Music
Tellers: Rev. Robert Jones
Venue: Library Tent
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Description:

Using a variety of instruments, this story explores the roost of spirituals, worksongs, blues, country, bluegrass, rock and roll, Motown soul and even rap music. 
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Time: 8:00 - 9:30 pm
Event: Dan Hoyle – Border People
Tellers: Dan Hoyle
Venue: International Storytelling Center
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Tellers:

Dan Hoyle

Description:

Border People Tickets sold separately: $20 Buy Now! Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall, International Storytelling Center Friday, October 4 · 8 pm Saturday, October 5 · 8 pm - Adult Content · Limited Seating Award-winning actor and playwright Dan Hoyle embodies 11 residents of various borders — geographic, cultural, religious, psychic, and racial — each based on Hoyle’s conversations with immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and border crossers of all kinds. "The show," says the San Francisco Chronicle, "is a testament to the courage and commitment to self that you have to have to live on the border, any sort of border, and be able to tell your truth about it." A gifted actor. So transformative and empathetic.Enthralling, sometimes heartbreaking, more often funny. Deeply moving. — SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER
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Time: 8:00 - 9:30 pm
Event: Ghost Stories
Tellers: Various Tellers
Venue: Mill Spring Park
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Description:

A beloved Festival tradition, two nights of fright await you in these open-air ghost story concerts featuring a different collection of haunting tales each night. Guest tellers and Festival veterans Charlotte Blake Alston and Dan Keding join other featured tellers on the Ghost Story Stage on both Friday and Saturday. Charlotte Blake Alston has performed in venues throughout North America and abroad, including the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Women of the World Festival in South Africa. She is a recipient of the NSN ORACLE Circle of Excellence award, the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, and the Zora Neale Hurston award. Dan Keding is well-known for his telling of personal narratives, ghost stories, world folktales, and superbly crafted original pieces. He has performed across the world, including festivals in England, Ireland and Canada. Keding’s numerous awards include the NSN ORACLE Storytelling Circle of Excellence Award. Stories at 8 p.m. each night in any kind of weather. It’s ground seating only, so remember to bring your blankets. Ghost story concerts are not recommended for children under 6.  Tickets available at Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall, at registration, and at the gate.
Time
Event
Tellers
Venue
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Time: 10:00 - 11:59 pm
Event: National Storytelling Festival
Tellers: TBD
Venue:
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Description:

The 47th annual National Storytelling Festival is October 4 – 6, 2019.
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Time: 8:00 - 9:00 am
Event: Yoga in the Park
Tellers: TBD
Venue: The International Storytelling Center | Jonesborough, TN Storytelling Park
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Description:

Join storied yoga instructor Kim Blaine for a free guided practice woven with inspirations from Hindu mythology, yogic philosphies, historical narratives, and current events--a yoga experience that speaks to the mind and body. Limited number of mats provided 
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Time: 11:30 - 12:30 pm
Event: How They Linger
Tellers: Donald Davis
Venue: International Storytelling Center
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Tellers:

Donald Davis

Description:

Donald Davis hosted by Ed Stivender Sunday, October 6 · 11:30 am Donald Davis has been performing in Jonesborough since the early days of the storytelling movement, and he’s made a lot of friends along the way. In this year’s studio, he’ll look back on a lifetime’s worth of personal memories with late storytellers like Gamble Rogers, Jackie Torrence, Doc McConnell, Ray Hicks, Kathryn Windham, and more. Very limited seating; please make a reservation to avoid disappointment.  Call (800) 952-8392, ext. 222 or Buy Online.
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Time: 11:30 - 1:00 pm
Event: Storytelling Studio: How They Linger
Tellers: Donald Davis
Venue: Storytelling Theater
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Tellers:

Donald Davis

Description:

Separate ticket required.  Donald Davis has been performing in Jonesborough since the early days of the storytelling movement, and he’s made a lot of friends along the way. In this year’s studio, he’ll look back on a lifetime’s worth of personal memories with late storytellers like Gamble Rogers, Jackie Torrence, Doc McConnell, Ray Hicks, Kathryn Windham, and more. Very limited seating; please make a reservation to avoid disappointment.
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