November 7th, 2012 in Local Regional News

Tellabration founder J.G. Pinkerton launched the idea of a national day of storytelling in 1988 to give storytellers in many communities a way to get together to share tales with family and friends.

He had a wish, according to the National Storytelling Network website: "May what the tellers share bring joy to many people and may the listeners come to know that ... through storytelling, we can draw closer together in peace ... and in friendship ... and in love."

The Tellabration spirit can be found in Cleveland, Tenn., on Friday, Nov. 9, when a handful of storytellers will gather in the fellowship hall of First Presbyterian Church, 433 N. Ocoee St.

According to local organizer Judy Baker, the evening will consist of tall tales, music, folk tales and personal stories.

Baker began storytelling herself after being invited to a Tellabration event a decade ago.

"I realized what those people were doing up there, I could do," she said. "All you need to have is a story to tell, and everybody has a story to tell. I was hooked."

Her first telling was less than a year later. Since 1999, she has been a member of the Cleveland Storytelling Guild.

She prefers telling traditional Appalachian stories and personal stories about growing up on a farm.

"I am beginning to venture into tall tales," Baker said.

She recently received first place in the Chattanooga Storytelling Circle's Intergalactic Liars Showcase and Contest in September.

Storytelling, Baker said, is fun for all ages.

"An event like that is something a whole family can come together and do it," she said. "Everybody can relate to something in a story."

Contact Holly Leber at or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at Subscribe to her on Facebook at


  • What: Cleveland Storytelling Guild presents Tellabration.

  • When: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9.

  • Where: First Presbyterian Church fellowship hall, 433 N. Ocoee St., Cleveland, Tenn.

  • Admission: Free. Donations welcome.

  • Phone: 423-479-7887.

  • Website:


  • Nov. 17: Storytelling in the Canyon, Little River Canyon Center, Fort Payne, Ala.