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World Storytelling Day coming to Gatlinburg this month

By Jeaneane Payne

Gatlinburg, TN will be the location for World Storytelling Day which takes place on March 23, 2013.


cuz headrick
Lifelong storyteller Cuz Headrick will be spinning a few tales at World Storytelling Day in Gatlinburg, TN.

Using a theme of "Fate and Fortune," members of the Smoky Mountain Storytellers Association (SMSA) will present stories of humor and history based on culture and heritage of the Smoky Mountains. The event is a fundraiser for SMSA programs in schools and communities.

“Storytellers are artists, creating videos in your imagination. They touch your heart or tickle your funny bone,” says SMSA President Janice Brooks-Headrick. “There’s nothing like live storytelling performance. Its hard to define because each storyteller has their own way of expressing, in their own voice, and quite often, their own stories. Please, come, experience it.”

Storytellers will include Cuz Headrick, Rick Elliott, Carol Bell, Susan Fulbright, Kathleen Mavournin, and Jeanette and Charlie Stevens.

Cuz Headrick of Sevierville, TN is an energetic, authentic Tennessee native, sharing the joy, laughter, and mountain music with his band, Mountain Grass, all summer long at Ober Gatlinburg. He is a lifelong storyteller.

Rick Elliott is from Gatlinburg and has positive energy to burn. With his huge amount of energy, his big voice, he has the wit and wisdom to keep you laughing. For 30 years as an English teacher, he also coached basketball, and never needed a microphone. Now a professional photographer, he gets the exciting shots of games that run in the sports section. He entertained at Gatlinburg's Ghost Walks for five years.

Carol Bell is 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. (Starting with 1987, she has attended every year except four.) She has worked as a computer programmer, a corporate trainer, and an academic librarian and professor. She has lived through hurricanes and survived cancer twice. In 2005, she completed a masters in storytelling at ETSU. Carol often adapts folk tales for contemporary listeners. She is interested in stories that touch the heart and awaken the soul, and some that are just for fun.

rick elliott storyteller
Rick Elliott is from Gatlinburg and has positive energy to burn. With his huge amount of energy, his big voice, he has the wit and wisdom to keep you laughing.

Susan Fulbright is from Kodak. Susan tells folktales, fables, horror tales, holiday tales, and family tales that border on that fine line of truth or fiction. She has lived in South Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and the mecca of all storytellers -- Jonesborough, Tennessee. There she became enamored with storytelling. She finished her degree in education at ETSU. She even came from Texas to get her masters in storytelling. In Texas, she taught reading, English, and storytelling for students in Houston. She coached volleyball and track and field -- especially shot put and discus for boys and girls. Susan is a reading specialist at Sevierville Middle School. Susan incorporates stories into shaping young minds. She got her Masters from ETSU while living in Jonesborough.

Kathleen Mavournin grew up in Minnesota and has always loved folktales and fairytales. She moved to East Tennessee more than 40 years ago, but when she starts to talk, you'll know that she's not native there. 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 stories — a whole world of stories. Kathleen has performed at Storytelling Festivals, Tellabrations, and Renaissance Fairs around the southern Appalachian region.

Jeanette Stevens, from Powell, is an author, with several plays and stories published. She is a member of Silver Stage Players and Wild Thyme Players, who give several performances yearly. Jeanette and her husband, Charles, teach ballroom dancing. They’ve traveled all over the world, lived in several countries. Jeanette writes much of her own material, from awe-filled to spooky tales.

All performers are members of National Storytelling Network, Jonesborough, TN, Tennessee Storytelling Association, Nashville, and Smoky Mountain Storytellers Association, Knoxville.

The event is from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. 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

Published March 4, 2013

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