About 40 years ago a high school journalism teacher in Jonesborough, TN decided to have a storytelling festival. A small group of folks sat on bales of hay and wagons and shared stories. That event evolved into the National Storytelling Festival held each fall in Jonesborough, attended by thousands. Storytelling has grown in popularity and today there are hundreds of storytelling festivals throughout the U.S. and the world.
Carolyn Franzini, coordinator of the Cave Run Storytelling Festival for the first sixteen years, attended the National Storytelling Festival with her nine-year old daughter in 1987. They returned home and told others about the event, and each year more families from Morehead attended. The appreciation of hearing a good story told was shared by all ages. Comments were made about how wonderful it was to attend an event that everyone in the family enjoyed. There was discussion about having a festival in Morehead. The questions were raised “Where could we have it?” “How could we do it?”
No one was really serious about this endeavor until the district ranger of the Daniel Boone National Forest called Carolyn saying, “I hear you want to have a storytelling festival.” He suggested having it on the shore of Cave Run Lake, eight miles west of Morehead, KY. A committee was formed and plans were made. The first festival with ten storytellers was held in September 1999. Since that time the festival has evolved into one of the top storytelling festivals in the country. The festival committee has grown to include ten members of the community, and festival partners include The Morehead Tourism Commission and the Daniel Boone National Forest.