Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 30

'It's been an educational
process to convince people
that storytelling is an adult
activity, but once they come,
they're hooked.'

Continued from page 28

multiple cultures, and "lots of energy," Sirah says.
That wasn't always the case.

-Terrell Shaw

Rebirth of storytelling

A variety of festivals in Georgia
Storyteller and naturalist Terrell Shaw says
Debby Brown, former educator at the Chieftans
Museum in Rome, was "the spark plug" for the formation of the Big Fibbers Storytelling Festival and
the Debby Brown Young Tales Program, which takes
storytelling into the schools to teach kids how to tell
their own stories.
What started as a contest for Big Fibbers on
April Fool's Day has become a three-day event with

30

Georgia Magazine

October 2019

JAY HURON

JAY HURON

TOM RAYMOND / FRESH AIR PHOTO

Connie Regan-Blake of Asheville, N.C., a
pioneer of the present-day storytelling movement,
remembers the first National Storytelling Festival in
Jonesborough, Tenn., in 1973. There was a wagonbed stage for tellers and about 60 listeners sitting on
hay bales.
People turned away from swapping stories with
the rise of radio and TV in the 1940s and 1950s, she
explains, but interest revived with the folk music and
back-to-the-land movements in the 1960s.
Regan-Blake and her cousin, Barbara Freeman,
hit the road in a yellow pickup truck in 1975, performing as The Folktellers. Regan-Blake became a
founding board member of the National
Storytelling Network.
"Storytelling is the only real job I've
ever had, and the older I get, the more
credible I am," says Regan-Blake, who
has won many awards for the art. She has
told stories in 47 states, in 18 countries
and on six continents, and she coaches
lawyers, ministers, teachers and others in
using story to enhance their jobs through
her Storywindow Productions,
storywindow.com.
She likes the old traditional stories
best.
"When something has been around
for hundreds of years, you have to figure
that there's something in it that you need
to know," Regan-Blake says. "Storytelling
is in our DNA, and listening to stories
brings people into community in a way
Top: Bil Lepp, a five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars' Contest, spins a tale at the
National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn. Above left: Nashville, Tenn.-based
that is like nothing else. When we're all
Minton Sparks performs at the National Storytelling Festival. She specializes in tales about
sharing in the same moment is when I
the rural South. Above right: Bilingual storyteller Carolina Quiroga shares stories from Native
feel most present."
American, Hispanic and Afro-Latin American cultures at the National Storytelling Festival.
Most states hold one or more annual
festivals now, each with its own flavor.
national and local tellers, says Shaw, president of the Rome-based Ridge &
Valley Storytelling Guild.
"It's been an educational process to convince people that storytelling
is an adult activity, but once they come, they're hooked," Shaw says. "The
festival features folk tales and personal narratives, both humorous and
touching. It gives families a chance to get away from their screens and use
their imaginations."
The Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival in Blairsville has a mission to entertain, to preserve the art form and to educate people on the
power of storytelling.
Continued on page 32


http://www.storywindow.com

Georgia Magazine - October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - October 2019

Contents
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 4
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 5
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 6
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 7
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 8
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 9
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 10
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 11
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 12
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 13
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 14
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 15
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 16
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 17
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 18
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 19
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 20
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 21
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 22
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 23
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 24
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 25
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 26
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 27
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 28
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 29
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 30
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 31
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 32
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 33
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 34
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 35
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 36
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 37
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 38
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 39
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 40
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 41
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - 42
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - October 2019 - Cover4
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