Tuesday, October 7, 2008


The 37th National Storytelling Festival has ended. Tents are coming down. Chairs are being stacked. Port-a-potties are heading back to wherever they come from. Restaurants are going over what inventory is left. The golfers at the Ridges have their carts back. ISC is $1 million closer to the $3M goal for the Horizon project. Actually there's a little over $250K to be raised.

And yet stories are still bouncing around the town.

The weekend started with a trip to the airport to pick up Karen Chace, Teresa Clark and Meg Gilman. We dropped Teresa off at Joseph Sobel's and headed to the house for a quick supper, then on to the Library tent for the NSN Storynight. They had a great lineup of Diane Ferlatte, Barbara Freeman, Bobby Norfolk, David Novak, Gayle Ross, Faye Wooden, and Rixon Lane. The pros were good, but I thought Rixon (youth from my native SC) and Faye (local) were the best.

I had traffic duty for four hours on Friday morning, so after getting Karen and Meg downtown, I picked up my ticket at the Christopher Taylor cabin and went to work. That afternoon I wandered from tent to tent. In the evening I heard John McCutcheon, Ben Haggarty, Beth Horner, Antonio Rocha, Kevin Kling, Won-ldy Paye, Erica Lann-Clark, Tim Tingle and Katheryn Windham. IMHO, all but one were good to great. It was my first time hearing Haggarty and he's now a favorite.

We had other guests who arrived Friday afternoon. Faye and her daughter Robbie were first-timer festival attendees. Faye won the tickets Jimmy Neal contributed for the Kiwanis Convention in August. They were great to have with us and enjoyed the festival.

The Midnight Cabaret featured Andy Offutt Irwin whom I love. I got my festival ticket by ushering at Andy's Teller in Residence program in July. I was a little disappointed because he really built up his new material in summer about Aunt Marguerite Van Camp and there wasn't much of it. But I still enjoyed him.

Sat. morning my traffic duty was early (7-11). It was fun, watching folks come in to town, saying good morning to them, answering their questions (where can I get coffee?, where can I park? and where's the College St. tent? in that order.) One guy said it was nice to have a sunflower greeting them and that made my day. Me...a sunflower. How 'bout that!

I grabbed some lunch and then it was on to Onawumi Jean Moss and then Kevin Kling. I was done for after that and headed home.

Sunday morning was the Featured Listeners breakfast. The room was full and the stories abound. David and Jeff (owners of the former Dogwood Lane) and others put on quite a spread. Mike and Susan welcomed us to the Parson's Table.The group lost two members this past year. Emotions were right at the surface. It was good to hear George stories.

The afternoon was more stories. I heard Bil Lepp who told one old and one new story. The old might have been new to the festival. Michael Reno Harrell was next. He's new the the festival crowd, but has been to Jonesborough many times. Tony and I had supper with him and Joan one evening when he was playing Jonesborough Days. His song Southern Accent kept me sane the 15 months we spent in Assachusetts. (My spelling of the state.) After his set, I headed home.

The fun continued that evening at Alta Cucina in Johnson City. It's a tradition to end the weekend at dinner somewhere with any Featured Listeners who are still in town, plus us Jonesborough folks. Meg came along with me. We filled the patio there. Tony and Karen were supposed to go to Joseph's after festival party, but I forgot and took the van. He doesn't have keys for my car. So after we ate, we came home and picked up Karen and went to Joseph's to end the evening with some good music.

Monday morning was a trip back to the airport for Karen and Meg to catch their flight. Then it was home to an empty, very quiet house. How many more days until the festival???


Tim said...

Thanks for sharing, Betty. Those of us who couldn't make it really enjoy reading these snapshots.

BYRSTN said...

Tim, I enjoy writing them. Sorry you couldn't make it this year. I have some pictures to post later. I need to find the camera first. LOL

rafred said...


I missed it too! The first time in seven years. I was in NC at the Wizard of Oz. I ran in and out of town last weekend but the next time I'll be there is Halloween. I'm hoping to see you. I'll email you real soon.

Granny Sue said...

This is a great report, Betty. I wish I could have been there. The festival has gotten too expensive for me these days. I wonder about volunteering, though. How can I do that? It would help with the costs of attending.

BYRSTN said...

I know Mary Garrett and some others were tent monitors. I don't know who they went through. At one time ETSU was doing that. Check with one of them though. I'm sure they could help you. I volunteer through ISC through the year, but I know they also have onsite jobs that need to be done during the festival. If I can get anymore info, I'll let you know.