KINGSPORT — If you’re looking for a safe way to celebrate Halloween, Exchange Place invites you to take part in the last few days of its Witches Wynd storytelling event.

How to attend

After canceling both the Spring Garden Fair and the Fall Folk Arts Festival due to the pandemic, Exchange Place announced that Witches Wynd would take place this October, for the 28th consecutive year, as a virtual affair.

The event started Oct. 23 and will be available through Oct. 31 via witcheswynd.com. Participants will see five noted storytellers weave their tales of ghouls, ghosts and things that go bump in the night.

Exchange Place is suggesting a donation of $7, which can be paid at the time of viewing with any major credit card. If you want to watch this special Witches Wynd more than once, you will be asked to make the $7 donation each time.

Storytelling lineup

Judy (Butterfly) Farlow has been educating and performing for more than 20 years from backyard picnics to the White House. A national award-winning storyteller, she is a performing member of the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild, participates with the National Storytelling Network and has appeared at numerous festivals and events, including Gatlinburg’s Smoky Mountain Tales and Tunes and the Virginia Renaissance Faire.

Agnese Goin holds a master’s degree in storytelling from East Tennessee State University. She has been a storyteller in residence at Lincoln Elementary School for 12 years and Washington Elementary School for two years. Agnese says teaching storytelling to children is the highlight of her week.

Hannah Harvey is a nationally known storyteller and an award-winning teacher, with a doctorate in oral history performance (performance ethnography). She has performed at the National Storytelling Festival, the International Fringe Festival in Scotland, Yale University, and in three storytelling courses with The Great Courses. Harvey specializes in Appalachian oral histories and has worked as a consultant for physicians, pastors and psychiatrists on the power of storytelling to shape cultural identity.

Libby Tipton is a staff interpreter at the Tennessee School for the Deaf, following many years as the interpreter coordinator at East Tennessee State University, where she worked with students who are deaf and hard of hearing. This came naturally to her, having grown up with deaf parents, which necessitated learning various methods of communication. A member and past president of the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild, she loves telling tales from the Appalachian Mountains.

Judy Womack has been a professional storyteller and actor for more than 30 years. Her use of dramatic movement and the spoken word allows stories to come alive and encourages listeners to stretch their imaginations. A past recipient of the Arts Council of Kingsport’s Distinguished Artist Award, she has conducted drama and storytelling workshops at Barter Theatre, the Kingsport Ballet and Theatre Bristol, among other venues.

How it started

Witches Wynd (the second word, pronounced “why-nd,” rhymes with “kind”), was started by Exchange Place volunteer Billee Moore nearly 30 years ago. Vacationing in Scotland with her husband in the early 1990s, the couple took an evening tour that featured spooky stories while they walked through cemeteries and “wynds,” which we would call alleys.

Upon returning to Kingsport, she adapted the idea for Exchange Place, and it became an instant hit. Under normal circumstances, with only a limited number of spaces, it sells out quickly. But because 2020 is hardly a normal year due to COVID-19, this year’s virtual version will be available to everyone.

For more information, call Exchange Place at (423) 288-6071.