In 1973, a journalism teacher and a few neighbors from Jonesborough, Tennessee rolled an old farm wagon into Courthouse Square and told stories around the wagon.  This modest festival changed Jonesborough forever.  It has been recognized as the first public event devoted to storytelling.  In 1975, the International Storytelling Center was founded and a growing cultural movement began.
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Stories are the foundation of culture.  They can entertain, share history, spread knowledge, persuade, advance a cause, teach, or impart a dream of a better future.  People need stories to make sense of the world.  Storytelling is a

Doesn't that microphone look inviting....

Doesn't that microphone look inviting....

powerful tool for effective communication.

In 2002, a new center campus opened.  It is the first facility devoted exclusively to storytelling.  Each year, Storyteller’s Weekend is free and open to the public.  The mission of the International Storytelling Center is to enrich MaryBMartinStorytellingHall_Esto-513x302lives through storytelling, whether by capturing and telling their stories, listening to others, or using it to produce positive change in the world.  They desire to build a better world, healthier communities, more effective workplaces, and better schools.

Though Jonesborough is the storytelling capital of the world, it is not the only devoted storytelling entity.  Ted Talks and The Moth are both organizations that regularly give talks in Pittsburgh, so you don’t have to go all the way to Tennessee to hear some good stories.  Before television we read books, and before we read books we told stories aloud.  It is high time we get back to our roots and tell decent, meaningful stories.

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Celebrate Storyteller’s Weekend this month by sitting around a fire pit telling stories among friends and roasting marshmallows!

So, what do you think?