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Big South Fork storytelling festival hits 20th year | Arts & Culture

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Big South Fork storytelling festival hits 20th year
Big South Fork storytelling festival hits 20th year

For two decades, thousands of people have traveled to Big South Fork to be spooked at the nationally known, Haunting in the Hills storytelling festival.

The event attracts around 3,000 people each year to its site near the Fentress and Scott County line. There, hundreds of attendees sleep overnight in the nearby Bandy Creek Campground.

National Park Service Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas said it is an event they would like to see even grow more in the future.

"Stories must be told, or they are lost", she said.

And, that is an important lesson given by the five storytellers who headlined the event.

Bobby Norfolk, a storyteller from Missouri, said East Tennesseans find themselves in the epicenter of storytelling.

"When people started landing on these shores, on the East Coast, when they started moving into these mountains, they brought their language, their culture, their food, and they brought their stories," he said.

Another storyteller, Kim Weitkamp, of Virginia, agrees. She said storytelling is an important tradition to past to future generations in an ever changing technological world.

"It roots them [children] into who they are and that's really something that's needed."

Leading up to the festival, according to Nicholas, storytellers traveled around the Big South Fork area to teach children the importance of the craft. She said they taught more than 9,000 students.

 

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