Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival returns in June

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, to be presented on June 2 and 3at the Historic Grove Theater in Oak Ridge, has announced its Event Committee, a group of Oak Ridge volunteers from all three Rotary Clubs, as well as other civic, charitable, business and other organizations throughout Oak Ridge. The festival will feature three nationally renowned storytellers.

Heading the Executive Committee is Emily Jernigan, chair of Flatwater Tales; Martha Hobson, vice chair, sponsorships and fundraising; Charlie Jernigan, chair for financial, website, tickets; Sue Byrne, chair of special projects/outreach; Charles Crowe, special projects; David Hobson, at-large; Pat Postma, secretary, special projects; Matt Tucker, chair of operations; Chris Iversen, operations, merchandise. Most are members of Oak Ridge Rotary Clubs.

These are members of the Event Committee for the upcoming Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival.
These are members of the Event Committee for the upcoming Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival.

“It truly takes a village to put on this large, annual event,“ Jernigan said. “Not only do we have Rotary officers and members involved, but we also have civic, educational, business and others lending their expertise. All are volunteers dedicated to preserving the art of storytelling and bringing it to Oak Ridge.”

Early bird tickets can be purchased online at Eventbrite or The Ferrell Shop in Jackson Square (cash or check only) in Oak Ridge. Tickets for individual performances and events are available.

Other committee members are: Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary, Sherrie Fairchild-Keyes, Julie Forkner, Mike Morris, Beth Shea, Ray Smith, Kesha Waters (CASA), Marian Wildgruber; Noon Rotary, Naomi Asher, Tom Beehan, Scott Smith; Sunset Rotary, Sherry Burchfield, Malcolm Stocks; Altrusa, Kay Brookshire; UT Arboretum and UT Arboretum Society, Michelle Campanis; Oak Ridge Chamber, Christine Michaels; ORAU, Laura Hammons; Oak Ridge Schools, Larissa Henderson; CNS, Gene Patterson; Staten Communications Ink, Melanie and Vince Staten; Friends of the Grove Theater, John Storey; Laura Carrington, ORNL; Elaine Graham, Isabel Tucker.

The two-day event will feature three storytellers Lyn Ford, Bil Lepp and the Rev. Robert B. Jones, each known to audiences nationwide for their wit, wisdom and abilities to make audiences laugh, cry and reminisce.

The Friday and Saturday evening shows include two specially themed programs. On Friday, June 2, Robert Jones will headline with a feature presentation, “American History Through Music.” On Saturday night, June 3, Bil Lepp will perform a special Oak Ridge-themed story, “I Guess Ol’ John Wasn’t Crazy After All: John Hendrix, the Prophet of Oak Ridge.” Every teller will perform a different story at each show both days.

Lyn Ford is a fourth generation, nationally recognized, Affrilachian (of African American heritage and history from the region called Appalachia) storyteller. She is also a teaching artist, author and creative narrative workshop presenter. She has recorded  award-winning CDs and was the first Ohio storyteller to be nominated for a Governor’s Arts Award. Her “Home-Fried Tales” are folktale adaptations, spooky tales, and original stories rooted in her family’s multicultural Affrilachian storytelling traditions.

Bil Lepp, a five-time veteran of the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, is star of the History Channel’s “Man vs. History.” An award-winning storyteller, author and recording artist, Bil’s humorous family-friendly tall tales and stories have earned him the appreciation of listeners of all ages from all walks of life. Though a five-time champion of the West Virginia Liar’s Contest, Lepp’s stories often contain morsels of truth which present universal themes in clever and witty ways. His 28 books and audio collections have won numerous awards.

Rev. Robert Jones Sr. is a native of Detroit and an inspirational storyteller and musician. He celebrates history, humor and the power of American Roots music. Whether he’s telling stories about growing up in his native Detroit, sharing tales about old blues musicians or inspirational stories drawn from history or scripture, Jones loves telling stories that reach both the mind and the heart.


On Thursday, June 1, Lyn Ford will lead a workshop, “Collecting Family Stories: Gathering and Creating Spoken and Written Narratives” from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.

On Friday, June 2, Rev. Jones will lead a workshop, “Celebrating Diversity: Using Music and Stories to Build Bridges” from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the UT Arboretum auditorium, 901 S. Illinois Ave. in Oak Ridge. This workshop is for storytellers, writers and musicians.

The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival is led by volunteers from all three Oak Ridge Rotary Clubs.

This article originally appeared on Oakridger: Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival returns in June