Once Upon a Time in Decatur

“…An’ all us other children, when the supper-things is done,

We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun

A-list’nin’ to the witch-tales ‘at Annie tells about,

An’ the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you

Ef you




Who doesn’t love to hear a good story, well told? To be enthralled by a storyteller, just waiting to find out what happens next? Tall tales, folklore, adventure, romance, tragedy or comedy: it’s all good.

I’ve been delighted by the increasing availability of real live storytelling events in the Metro. You can hear raconteurs at Carapace, held monthly at Manuel’s Tavern, and the True Story! series is held at Decatur’s own Kavarna.

The Southern Order of Storytellers presents the Big Daddy of storytelling events. This year is their 30th annual storytelling festival and it’s right here in Decatur, on February 17th and 18th.

Two time Grammy winner, Bill Harley

Do you know the work of Bill Harley? You may have heard him on NPR where he’s a regular contributor of stories and music for young and formerly-young audiences. Bill will headline the festival with a Saturday evening concert in the sanctuary of Decatur Presbyterian Church.

(In case you’d like a taste of Mr. Harley’s work, click here.)

The festival is packed with opportunities to hear some great tales. Many of the sessions are for children, others for all ages, and others are for the grown-ups. For example, at Eddie’s Attic on Friday there’s a late show, Stories on the Edge of Night, directed by Shannon McNeal. (I saw Shannon at a Moth Up last year and she is crazy-funny.)

But maybe you want more than to be enthralled. Perhaps you’d prefer to create the thrall.  The festival has you covered! Workshops for all ages exploring the art and the craft of storytelling. Release your inner Scheherazade.

You can enjoy this festival in one giant story orgy by purchasing a weekend pass, or you can bite off simply as much as you care to chew through purchasing individual tickets. Your best bet is to visit the Southern Order of Storytellers’ website. There you can look at the detailed schedule, devise your plan for the weekend, and score your tickets.

(And if you’d care to read all of Little Orphan Annie’s stories referenced at the top of the post, you can find the text here.)

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5 Responses to Once Upon a Time in Decatur

  1. Carol says:

    This was one of your most entertaining posts. Loved it!

  2. maryflad says:

    Thank you, Carol. We are very excited about this festival. While for the Southern Order of Storytellers it’s their 30th, it’s the first time the festival will be held in Decatur. I think it will be a great match.

  3. Jan B says:

    There should be something for every kind of listener, from children to adult. Decatur should be a great place for this festival to become an annual winter event. Be sure to look for the times when children can learn to tell stories and when adults can drink a beer and hear true life adventures.

  4. maryflad says:

    I think so too, Jan B. I’d love to see Decatur become the permanent home to this event. Just seems like a good fit. Thanks for the additional information.

  5. BJ Abraham says:

    It’s going to be a fun storytelling festival for all ages. Don’t think storytelling is just for kids — there’s lots for grownups, too! Mary did a great job of writing this article and describing storytelling and its merits and its entertainment factor. Plan yoursevles a unique, enjoyable weekend in Decatur at this Festival.

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