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A Week of Storytelling Across the Big South Fork

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Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be hosting the Twenty-Fifth Annual Haunting in the Hills Storytelling Festival on Saturday, September 16, 2017. Traditional arts and crafts as well as music will be included as part of the festival throughout the day. Events begin at 9:00 am ET and are free and open to the public. For more information, call (423) 286-7275.


As summer begins to wind down and we move into the month of September, the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area begins eight days of storytelling. The first event planned is the Ghost Train scheduled for September 9 at the Blue Heron interpretative site on the Kentucky side of the park. This event can begin with a ride down to the mining community on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway where visitors will be led on a walk around the site to a variety of local storytellers who will entertain you with tales of ghostly happenings from days gone by. This event is made especially entertaining as all of the storytellers are volunteers and park staff who have a knack for telling great stories. The event can also be reached by vehicle by driving down to Blue Heron and will start at approximately 6:30 p.m. (ET). The event itself is free of charge. There is a charge to ride the train down, and train tickets can be purchased from the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, headquartered in Stearns, Kentucky.

The storytelling continues throughout the following week as professional storytellers tour schools in Fentress, Morgan, Pickett, and Scott counties in Tennessee and McCreary and Wayne counties in Kentucky to tell tall tales and funny stories. The Big South Fork hires professional storytellers to visit many of the local schools around the park to give the children a glimpse into the old traditions of telling stories and tales. The storytellers use voices, props and other means to tell fascinating stories about old times and forgotten ways. Children will bring home many stories about the folks they have seen during the day. This is all made available to the schools at no cost.

The culmination of the storytelling events is the 25th Annual Storytelling Festival on September 16, 2017. The professionals ply their skills in an afternoon storytelling session that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. They tell stories of ancient legends and mystical places to entertain all who may listen. Later, under the cover of darkness, the storytellers begin their traditional ghost stories and spooky tales. This is not for the faint of heart. Many of the stories are based on just enough true facts to make you wonder if it could have really happened the way they relate it to the audience. Come out and enjoy a day of storytelling, dulcimer music, crafts and other exhibits throughout the day at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center.

All of these events are open to the public and are accessible to anyone who may want to visit. There is no charge for any of the events, so, if you want to hear tales and stories, many that have been handed down over generations, come visit the Big South Fork during the week of September 9 to September 16, 2017.

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