It’s September in Morehead, and that means it’s time for colorful yarns, spooky stories and lump-in-your throat narratives told by master storytellers.

    That’s annual fare of the Cave Run Storytelling Festival, now in its thirteenth year. The festival will run Friday, Sept. 23, and Saturday, Sept. 24, at Twin Knobs Recreation Area. Set against the verdant backdrop of Cave Run Lake, the festival annually draws nationally-known storytellers to Rowan County for the two-day event. It also draws thousands of school-aged children, families and novice storytellers as well.

    “We already have 2,900 school kids registered,” said festival organizer Carolyn Franzini.

    She said the goal is 3,000 school-aged children, and if past attendance figures are any indication, the festival will meet or surpass that goal. There’s even a separate festival day, Sept. 22, for schools only.

    Storytelling is not just for the kids, however.

    It’s a safe bet that festivalgoers of all ages will be reaching for hankies and holding their sides—prompted by tales of humor, tragedy and the range of human emotions in between. That’s the hallmark of exceptional storytelling, and the array of scheduled performers is sure to remain true to this calling.

    Donald Davis, a revered storyteller from a family of the same, will return to the festival this year to regale the audience with tales of his North Carolina roots.

    “Everybody loves Donald,” said festival organizer Carolyn Franzini. “He’s got a great voice, and tells stories everyone can relate to.”

    She said Davis was a catalyst for the annual festival.

    “He came for some school performances years ago, and told us that a small town storytelling festival would do well here.”

    Franzini said she and others also were inspired to start the festival 25 years ago, after her family went to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, Tenn.

    “It became a big part of our lives every fall. Other families from Morehead started going too. We wanted to bring that storytelling magic to Morehead,” she said.

    After some discussion and search for a suitable venue, Franzini said the National Forestry Service stepped in to offer the Daniel Boone National Forest as the stage.

    This year, the festival will be held under large tents along the bank of Cave Run Lake. An acclaimed mime, an African American storyteller, a special event ghost story concert and several other performances will blend music, folk wit and wisdom to entertain the audience.

    Franzini said the addition of a musical element to the lineup helps people connect two important elements of the creative experience.

    “Music is always a significant part of storytelling.

    “We think our audiences  appreciate hearing stories with music,” she said.

    The storytellers will likely inspire audience members to tell their own, which they can do at the Morehead State Public Radio (WMKY) Storymobile. The rolling recording studio will be set up during the festival to help attendees preserve their own stories. Anyone who records their story will get a free CD copy of it and photograph of their visit to the Storymobile.

    The festival begins Friday and Saturday at 9:45 a.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the gate.

    Full weekend and day admission passes are available and there are special rates for children and families. For a complete schedule of events and storytellers, go to or call 780-4342 for more information.

    Noelle Hunter can be reached at or by telephone at 784-4116.

Recommended for you