Gatlinburg to Host World Storytelling Day

Though towns like Jonesborough, TN are more widely known for its Storytelling Festival every year, for one day this month Gatlinburg, TN will be epicenter for all storytelling lovers. World Storytelling Day will take place on March 23 in Gatlinburg as the town welcomes such widely known storytellers as Cuz Headrick, Rick Elliott, Carol Bell, Susan Fulbright, Kathleen Mavournin, and Jeanette and Charlie Stevens.

Members of the Smoky Mountain Storytellers Association will tell stories of humor and history using a theme of “Fate and Fortune,” based on the culture and heritage of the Smoky Mountains. The event is a fundraiser for SMSA programs in schools and communities.

A Sevierville native, Headrick is an energetic tale spinner, who combines storytelling and mountain music with his band, Mountain Grass.

Another local, Rick Elliott from Gatlinburg is easily recognizable for his energy, his big voice, and his hilarious wit and wisdom. Between stints as an English teacher and basketball coach, he never seemed to need a microphone over 30 some odd years. Now a professional photographer, Elliot will bring his unique views and experiences to World Storytelling Day.

Carol Bell hails from Maryville. She has always been curious about every subject, every place on earth, and every kind of people. She has lived in six states and in Austria. It was while living in Europe in the mid-1980s that she realized how much she wanted to get back to Tennessee so that she could attend the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough. A two-time cancer survivor, she completed a masters in storytelling at ETSU in 2005.

Kodak native Susan Fulbright weaves folktales, fables, horror tales, holiday tales, and family tales into her performance. She finished her degree in education at ETSU. While living in Texas, she taught reading, English, and storytelling for students in Houston. Susan is a reading specialist at Sevierville Middle School and incorporates stories into shaping young minds.

Kathleen Mavournin grew up in Minnesota before moving to East Tennessee over 40 years ago. She holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and worked for many years at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Genetic Toxicologist. Now retired, she has a lot more time for storytelling, one of her favorite hobbies. Kathleen has performed at Storytelling Festivals, Tellabrations, and Renaissance Fairs around the southern Appalachian region.

From nearby Powell, Jeanette Stevens is a well-known author, with several plays and stories published. Jeanette and her husband, Charles, teach ballroom dancing. Jeanette writes much of her own material, from awe-filled to spooky tales.

The event is from 2-4:00 pm and will be held at American Legion Hall #202, 1222 East Parkway (Hwy 321), Gatlinburg, TN (between Gatlinburg Police Department and the post office. Parking is free.

Refreshments will be served. A donation is requested of $7 adults, $4 students, under 5 is free. Groups are welcome.

For more information on Smoky Mountains Storytellers Association, please visit

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