For immediate release:
Contact: Emily Jernigan
April 13, 2018

in OAK RIDGE June 1 and 3

Internationally acclaimed storytellers
to perform, share laughter, tears and create memories
Presented by the
Oak Ridge Fund for Achieving Community Excellence

The Flatwater Festival in Oak Ridge has announced a major addition to its 2018 schedule, the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, featuring three world renowned storytellers. This will be an annual event led by the three Rotary Clubs in Oak Ridge, all volunteers, as part of the Flatwater Festival weekend. This first storytelling festival in the Oak Ridge area will be held at the Oak Ridge Playhouse.

Bil Lepp, Tim Lowry, and Minton Sparks will perform for this inaugural festival. They have achieved national and international recognition and appear regularly at festivals, including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Flatwater Tales kicks off on Friday, June 1 with a three-hour interactive writing workshop, “Create Your Own Story,” with Minton Sparks. The goal is to help participants discover their own stories from their family history and experiences, structure their stories, and share them with others. The workshop is being held in a serene woodland setting at the auditorium in the UT Arboretum in Oak Ridge. No previous writing or performing experience is needed.

On Sunday, June 3 the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival presents the art and magic of live storytelling with two performances at the Oak Ridge Playhouse, 2 to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. with different stories at each session. It is an Oak Ridge 75th Birthday event. Although the stories would be rated PG, since each show is a 3-hour performance with two intermissions, it is not suitable for children under 10.

Making a special guest appearance to open the first Flatwater Tales will be Kiran Singh Sirah, President of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, TN.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the Flatwater Tale’s inaugural Community Partner, the Blossom Center for Childhood Excellence. A nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, it was founded by Creed Mushimbo in 2015. Its mission is to partner with parents to provide excellent child-centered programs that are affordable and accessible seven days a week.

“The Festivals’ goals are to help bring our community together, introduce people to Oak Ridge, support local economic activity, and raise funds for the clubs’ community projects, “ said Emily Jernigan, Flatwater Tales chair and former Breakfast Rotary president. “We expect to grow Flatwater Tales to include local and regional lore, music, and history, and to help share the Oak Ridge story – past, present, and future – with a wider audience. We want to expand our storytelling training to include helping children find their voices using this age-old art form.”

For those who want to spend the Flatwater Festival weekend in Oak Ridge, rooms are reserved at a group rate at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel of Oak Ridge. Visit the hotel’s web page or call the hotel directly at 865-481-2468 and refer to the group code: FTS.

Who are these internationally acclaimed storytellers? Meet them:
Bil Lepp, an acclaimed teller from Charleston, WV, and 5-time winner of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest, takes listeners on a winding, incredulous path before tying up all the loose ends in a neat, fantastical package. He tells humorous, imaginative tales, and says that while all the details may not be accurate, the feelings are always honest.

Tim Lowry, from Summerville, SC, by way of Eastern Kentucky, casts his spellbinding net to audiences of all ages, sometimes in a seersucker suit or Revolutionary War costume. He brings us stories ranging from folk tales to Southern culture, history, and personal narratives. He will tickle your funny bone along the way.

Minton Sparks, from Nashville, TN, dives deep into her family history in Arkansas and West Tennessee to captivate her audience with poetry, music, and dance that reveal the often-hidden truths all families have. She is accompanied by noted guitarist John Jackson.

Tickets are now on sale at the Ferrell Shop in Oak Ridge and on the Festival’s Facebook page and website, flatwatertales.com. For more information on Flatwater Tales visit their website or email flatwatertales@gmail.com.

Committee members for Flatwater Tales Festival are Emily Jernigan, Chair; Michelle Campanis, Jenifer Campbell, Octavius Coleman, Charles Crowe, Rebecca Crowe, Becky Dodson, Jim Dodson, David Hobson, Martha Hobson, Charlie Jernigan, Pat Postma, Betsy Prine, Becky Rushton, and Melanie Staten.

“If you can’t go to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough be sure to come to the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival in Oak Ridge.”

Presented by:
The Oak Ridge Fund for Achieving Community Excellence, (ORFace),
an affiliate fund of the East Tennessee Foundation