POUND — The Red Fox Storytelling Festival, like many Southwest Virginia events, is making a post-pandemic in-person return this spring.
Festival coordinator Debbi Hale said this year’s fourth annual event also marks a milestone in the town’s efforts to show that Pound is a thriving community.
“It’s a positive thing for Pound,” Hale said of the April 29-30 event, which began more than four years ago as a story circle around a bonfire at Killing Rock. The festival’s namesake, Dr. Marshall Taylor – the red fox – joined two associates in ambushing and killing a moonshiner and some of his family on a trail near the rock in 1892.
From that hour in the bonfire story, Hale said the festival officially began as an opportunity to tell stories related to Red Fox and his fate at the gallows in 1893.
“Appalshop helped us with the first Red Fox Storytelling Festival,” Hale said, “and many people who performed on Appalshop’s ‘Red Fox – Second Hanging’ participated in the first festival. They continue to collaborate with us on the festival.
While subsequent festivals have focused on tales of local history, Hale said this year’s event coincides with the demolition of the old Pound High School this month.
“We are having a kind of high school reunion and story circle on Friday (April 29) where students, staff and anyone with a connection to Pound High can tell stories about their time at school,” said Tan. “I graduated from Pound in 1974, left for six years and came back to teach for 25 years. I thought it would be interesting for people to come back and talk about their connection to the school.
Saturday April 30 includes a chance to enjoy the same area where the red fox has become notorious. Chasin’ Red Fox on the Red Fox and Pine Mountain Trails includes a 5k hike or 10k run along the trails and near Killing Rock.
“We’re branching out into other storytelling, including fun stories, but we’re still focusing on local history,” Hale said.
From 1pm on Saturday, the festival achieves its goal: lots of storytelling in downtown Pound. Hale said local and professional storytellers will be interspersed with performances by Eastern Kentucky songwriter/musician Tiffany Williams of songs about the Pound Gap.
The festival ends Saturday at 6 p.m. with street dancing and music by Grammy-nominated Wolfpen Branch.
“They can lift you out of your seat and flatten you out,” Hale added.
Admission is free for both days of the Red Fox Storytelling Festival, and more information on times and locations can be found on Facebook by searching Red Fox Storytelling Festival.