Storytelling school

Preserving the Art of Storytelling with Flatwater Tales, June 3-4

The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, which will be presented June 3 and 4 at the Historic Grove Theater in Oak Ridge, announced its advisory committee, a group of Oak Ridge volunteers from the three Rotary clubs as well as other civic, charitable organizations , commercial and other organizations throughout Oak Ridge.

The festival will feature three world renowned storytellers.

The executive committee is led by Emily Jernigan, president of Flatwater Tales; Martha Hobson, Vice President, Sponsorships and Fundraising; Charlie Jernigan, President of Finance, Website, Tickets; Lydia Birk, President of Operations; Charles Crowe, special projects; David Hobson, Oak Ridge Institute for Lifelong Learning (ORICL); Pat Postma, special projects, cashier logistics. Most of those people are members of Oak Ridge Rotary clubs, according to the press release.

“It really takes a village to put on this big annual event,” Jernigan said. “Not only do we have Rotary officers and members involved, but we also have citizens, teachers, businesses and others lending their expertise. All are volunteers dedicated to preserving the art of storytelling. and bring it to Oak Ridge.

Early bird tickets can be purchased online at or The Ferrell Shop (cash or check only) in Oak Ridge. Tickets for individual shows and events are available.

Other committee members are: Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary, Peter Bancroft, Sherrie Fairchild-Keyes, Mike Morris, Ray Smith, Kesha Waters (CASA); Noon Rotary, Tom Beehan; Sunset Rotary, Malcolm Stocks; Altrusa, Kay Brookshire, Chris Iversen; University of Tennessee Arboretum and UT Arboretum Society, Michelle Campanis; Oak Ridge Chamber, Christine Michaels; ORAU, Laura Hammons; Oak Ridge Schools, Larissa Henderson; SNC, Gene Patterson; Staten Communications Ink, Melanie and Vince Staten; Lee McClure, Craig Rigell.

The storytelling festival

The three-day event will feature storytellers Sheila Arnold, Bil Lepp and Kim Weitkamp known to audiences nationally for their wit, wisdom and ability to make audiences laugh, cry and reminisce. Two special events have been added to the weekend: a Bil Lepp workshop on Thursday, June 2; and a special tour of Oak Ridge by Oak Ridge Historian D. Ray Smith on Friday, June 3.

Storyteller Sheila Arnold will perform at the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival in June.

Celebrity storyteller Sheila Arnold, who will tell the story of the “Scarboro 85,” the 85 brave young people who were the first to desegregate a Southeast school district, will star in the Friday night performance. Few people know about this landmark 1955 event that took place in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Sheila will pay homage to the Scarboro 85 by telling some of their stories. Lepp and Weitkamp will also perform on Friday evening. Friday night tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children, according to a statement.

There will be three shows on June 4 and storytellers will share different stories for each performance. The morning family show, from 10 a.m. to noon, will offer tickets for $10 for adults and $5 for school-age children. The afternoon show is from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the evening show is from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets for the afternoon and evening performances are $25 for each show. Early bird pricing is currently available at $40 per ticket for the Saturday afternoon and evening shows. For groups of 10 or more, tickets will cost $20 each for afternoon or evening performances.

Storyteller Bil Lepp will perform at the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival in June.

Lepp will present a special workshop, “Bringing a Story to Life and Including Your Audience in the Experience,” from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, at UT Arboretum Auditorium in Oak Ridge. Tickets for the workshop are $50 and are also available on and The Ferrell Shop in Oak Ridge. The Ferrell store only accepts cash or checks.

A first-time special event has been added to this year’s Flatwater Tales. Oak Ridge Historian Ray Smith will lead a tour of select Oak Ridge historic sites on Friday, June 3 at 1 p.m. Tickets for this free tour are also available on The event is free, but registration is required. Learn the history of Oak Ridge by spending the afternoon with Ray.

Storyteller Kim Weitkamp will perform at the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival in June.

The Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival is led by volunteers from the three Oak Ridge Rotary clubs.