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Inaugural Storytelling on the Steps set for Saturday in Gate City

Wes Bunch • Oct 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM

GATE CITY — Lovers of a good tall tale or yarn will want to visit Gate City this Saturday for the town’s first-ever Storytelling on the Steps festival.

The inaugural festival, which is scheduled to run from noon until 6 p.m., will take place on the front steps of the historic Scott County Courthouse and feature storytellers from the East Tennessee State Storytelling program as well as more than a dozen vendors and a handful of musical acts.

Event co-planner Dena Powers said the festival is a family-friendly event that is designed to highlight the importance of storytelling of all types to the region.

“We want people to come together and realize their heritage,” Powers said. “We want people to think about their ancestry and history, and a lot of that is in our stories and music. We want families to come out and bring their chairs, sit back and listen to the entertainment and have a good time. It’s totally free and the weather will be beautiful.”

Powers said the ETSU ensemble will be led by Dr. Joseph Sobol. Along with several of his current and former students in the storytelling program, Sobol will focus on telling a variety of Jack tales, grandfather tales and other types of stories that have roots in the region.

A variety of food and arts and crafts vendors will be present, and music will be provided by acts like the Ready to Go Band, Dwayne Dingus and Friends and If Birds Could Fly.

Planning for the event began in May when Powers and fellow co-organizers Shannon Musick and Jennifer Moore participated in the Scott County Chamber of Commerce’s Horizon Leadership Class 2012.

“It’s turned out to be a lot of work, but I’ve loved it,” Powers said. “We started working on this in May and we hope it can be successful and be able to grow every year.

Kim Dorton, chairperson of the Horizons Leadership program, said the organization was pleased with the work done to make the festival a reality.

“This event is the culmination of a group project required by those participating in the Chamber’s leadership development program,” Dorton said. “Two goals are achieved — providing volunteer resources for county projects, and positively contributing to economic development and tourism efforts in our county. We’re so pleased to see a small group undertake such an extensive project and successfully see it to fruition.”

Visit www.storytellingonthestepsfestival.com for more information on Saturday’s event.

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