Special Events

Don’t miss these special events included with your Festival weekend pass!

Highlights include an opening night concert with Master Storyteller Donald Davis, “After Hours” stories for adults with Antonio Sacre, a Storytelling Studio with Apollo 13 Astronaut Fred Haise, and our ever-popular Ghost Stories – all included in the price of your ticket. Separate tickets to these events are also available for purchase.

Freedom Stories

Thursday, October 1 | 1-2:30 pm

Freedom Stories Initiative: Stories of the Underground Railroad

Join inspirational instrumentalist and storyteller, Reverend Robert Jones, Sr., as he brings to life true tales from the Underground Railroad. This session is part of an ISC initiative called “Freedom Stories: Unearthing the African-American Heritage of Appalachia,” a project that explores the history of African American Appalachian-led movements, contributions, and culture which shaped a distinct and uniquely American storytelling tradition. The session includes both performance and discussion between Jones and Freedom Stories Director Dr. Alicestyne Turley, followed by a live audience question and answer session. The project is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Discussions Grant, an award based on projects that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences.

Free Event

Donald Davis

Opening Night Celebration Concert

Thursday, October 1 | 7:30 pm

Other Mothers

Donald reflects on some of the women who taught him about life as an adult in stories of remarkable women who finished raising him.

Included in Festival weekend pass, but can also be purchased separately for $15.

Antonio Sacre

After Hours

Friday, October 2 | 10 pm

The Ninth Best Storyteller

When Antonio Sacre’s dad said to him, “It’s amazing you make a living as a storyteller because you’re only the ninth or tenth best storyteller in our family,” Antonio fumed. He set out to find out from his family if that was true, and the answer, just like life, is complicated, funny, bawdy, a bit dirty, kind of sad, and surprisingly honest. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be shocked, and in the end, you might just agree with his dad.

Included in Festival weekend pass, but can also be purchased separately for $10.

This story is intended only for mature audiences. It may use words or language that are considered profane, vulgar, or offensive by some listeners.

Fred Haise, Apollo 13 Astronaut

Storytelling Studio

Saturday, October 3 | 4 pm

Hosted by Sue O’Halloran

Join Fred Haise, former U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps pilot, fighter pilot, and NASA astronaut, for this exciting conversation hosted by storyteller Sue O’Halloran. Best known for his role as the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 13 space mission, you’ll hear tales from this extraordinary space flight, which suffered an explosion in the command module, causing them to abort a moon landing and focus instead on making it back to Earth alive. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions following the session.

Included in Festival weekend pass, but can also be purchased separately for $20.

Ghost Story Concert

Saturday, October 3 | 7:30 pm

A beloved and long-standing Festival tradition, enjoy a night of eerie fright with haunting tales from amazing ghost story tellers Simon Brooks, Tim Lowry, Donna Washington and Megan Wells. Hosted from the graveyard by Tim Lowry.

Included in Festival weekend pass, but can also be purchased separately for $10.

Join us in Jonesborough, Tennessee for the 2021 National Storytelling Festival.