7th Annual Athens Storytelling Festival Almost Here!

by Staff
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Late October event to bring crowds to the Square and the town

ATHENS– The Limestone County Courthouse square is decorated in fall finery in anticipation of the Athens Storytelling Festival to be held this year on Thursday, October 24 through Saturday, October 26.   This year, there will be an added Local Storytellers Competition on Tuesday, October 22.

Athens is proud to offer this opportunity to participate in Storytelling – the oldest form of entertainment.  Hear marvelous yarns by renowned storytelling masters:

DILL PICKERSThe Dill Pickers began as a group of individual musicians brought together by their mutual casting in a local Birmingham company’s performance of the off-Broadway musical Snow on the Mountain.  They gained state-wide renowned for their yearly performances and grew into a band of storytelling, instrument wielding performers whose popularity transcended the Birmingham stage to bring about the touring and talented group of tale-tellers they are today.

Minton Sparks is a lean and literate livewire in a flower print church dress spinning MINTON SPARKStales of blatant honesty through song, gesture and spoken word. Her performances pierce the heart and soul as effortlessly as she balances her prop pocketbook on her slender wrist.  Sparks has been called the lovechild of Flannery O’Connor and Hank Williams.  She is a speaker-songwriter at its finest.

BOBBY NORFOLKBobby Norfolk’s innate ability to read and connect with audiences of all ages makes him one of America’s premier storytellers. Using dynamic movement and vocal effects, Norfolk creates vibrant characters who come to life through imaginative, creative story, living history programs that highlight the African-American experience, and toe-tapping musical shows that feature song and live musicians. His stories promote character education traits (such as respect and responsibility), cultural diversity, and literacy. A great role model and mentor, he inspires and motivates kids, telling stories “to see the happiness and joy that can be shared through the oral tradition. No fancy electronics, just teller and listener.”

Carmen Deedy who has entertained thousands of children and adults alike in her ultra-energetic and charming style. CARMEN DEEDY Deedy has recounted her tales of growing up Cuban in Decatur, Georgia for over a decade.  Her performances of the humorous and poignant of familial living ring a familiar tone in the ear while retaining a unique quality of her individual upbringing.

DONALD DAVISDonald Davis who was born in a Southern Appalachian mountain world rich in stories.  “I didn’t learn stories, I just absorbed them,” he says as he recounts tales and more tales learned from a family of traditional storytellers who have lived on the same Western North Carolina land since 1781.  Davis grew up hearing gentle fairy tales, simple and silly Jack tales, scary mountain lore, ancient Welsh and Scottish folktales, and-most importantly-nourishing true-to-life stories of his own neighbors and kin.

Bil Lepp tells original, hilarious tales that will bring a smile to the face of even the most ill-BIL LEPPhumored person around.  Bil is the author of three books of tales, four audio collections, and he has had stories published in several national magazines.  Bil has been a featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival several times, and at The Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Stories will be told in the big tent on Marion Street, between Market and Washington, within close proximity to an eclectic mix of downtown restaurants and shops offering a wide variety of antiques, gifts, gourmet foods, clothing and hardware.  On Friday, October 25 the tall tales start at 10:00 a.m. and run through 9:30 p.m. that night.  Saturday’s stories start at 9:00 a.m. and run until 9:00 p.m.  There are lunch and dinner breaks both days, but attendees are encouraged to come and go at their leisure.

ONCE UPON A TIMEOn Thursday evening October 24 at 7:15 p.m., there will be a Storytelling Olio where our storytellers will whet your appetite in an event you won’t want to miss.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the tent will be open to participating city and county schools, grades 3 through 12 so that the art of Storytelling can be experienced by the next generation of great tellers.

Storytelling is traditional, creative, educational, cultural, personal, and therapeutic. CREATIVEThe stories told will seem spontaneous, but not without hours of coaching and practice-the storytellers will captivate their audience by using eye contact, their voices, movement, and expressions to bring their stories to life in the listeners’ minds and hearts.

In addition to traditional day and weekend tickets, half-day tickets and children’s tickets will be available.  You may purchase tickets online at www.athensstorytellingfestival.com or at the Athens Shop in the Center for Lifelong Learning at 121 S. Marion Street on the east side of the Limestone County Courthouse Square.


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