After a two-year silence, tall tales once again drifted along the shores of Cave Run Lake.
The Cave Run Storytelling Festival has returned to Twin Knobs to welcome people from around the world to share a variety of stories, comedy, motivational and more. An approximate crowd of over 700 attendees came to listen to the stories to celebrate the twenty-second anniversary of the festival.
“It was awesome, I couldn’t have asked for better fall weather and people were so excited to come back after COVID,” said festival director Beth Reynolds. “One of our tellers said they took festivals and how often people can get together for granted until they can’t go anymore.”
This year marked Reynold’s second official year as festival director since she got the job in 2019, shortly before nationwide shutdowns were caused by the pandemic.
She said she was more than happy the festival was returning so she and many others could finally reunite with those they hadn’t seen in over two years.
“A woman told me she’s been camping at this campground for 40 years and has been coming to the festival every year since it started,” said Reynolds, who has attended the festival since it started there. 22 years ago. “It’s great to see regulars from previous years alongside new visitors, students, campers and even the cashiers themselves from all over the world.”
The festival maintained a loose COVID-19 protocol that asked attendees to do their part to protect and respect each other’s space.
Storytellers from around the world took to the stage this year.
“I travel all over the country and visit this festival every three years,” said Antonio Rocha, a mime and storyteller who left Brazil for America to travel the world and share his stories. “It’s a great place and I always enjoy being here. Traveling and telling stories is my job and my passion.
Rocha, who has now lived in Maine for 34 years and has told her Cave Run stories six times in the past and in 43 states in total, told the story of an illegal slave ship named Malaga that smuggled Africans in Brazil in the 1840s.
A first-time storyteller, Paul Strickland immediately fell in love with the festival atmosphere.
“This is my first time here, but I’m sure I can say it’s in my top three festivals I’ve been to,” said Strickland, a comedian from Cincinnati, Ohio. “It’s just great to have all these people come just to have a good time and some good stories.”
Other performers included Andy Offutt Irwin, Geraldine Buckley, Don White, Bil Lepp, Sheila Arnold and The Rowan County High School Thespians.