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Young Harris College to Host Second Annual Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College will host the second annual Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival (GMSF) Friday-Saturday, April 1-2. The festival will feature an array of award-winning storytellers, including Affrilachian teller Lyn Ford, celebrated Appalachian musicians David Holt and Josh Goforth, environmentalist Doug Elliot, Circle of Excellence Award-winner Andy Offutt Irwin, balladeers Sweet Sunny South, and a special panel of YHC student tellers.

“YHC’s Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival celebrates the power of the spoken word to charm, challenge, and sustain us,” said Professor of English and Director of the Study Abroad Program Ruth Lopper, Ph.D. “We look forward to bringing together a variety of groups—students, community members, visitors from the region—to experience this stellar line-up of artists.”

The festival showcases the art of Southern storytelling with a particular focus on Appalachian stories, both traditional and contemporary. The GMSF offers storytelling and musical performances, children’s events, and workshops so that community members, visitors, and students of all ages and from all disciplines will not only learn about the tradition and history of our region through storytelling, but also have the opportunity to become part of its preservation.

Hoping to draw many outsiders to the region, GMSF is meant to help attendees make connections to the area surrounding YHC and return in the future.

“The festival is a really exciting opportunity to showcase our campus and local culture, all while engaging with the tradition of storytelling,” said Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center Jared Champion, Ph.D. “I am excited to be a part of such a tremendous effort, and I cannot wait to bring in the community to hear world-class storytellers.” 

The festival begins at 9 a.m. on Friday with various storytelling workshops and performances in which students and community members will have the opportunity to learn how to realize, claim, and tell their own stories. A question and answer session with the featured storytellers will follow. Other Friday activities include a campfire story session, the Student Story Slam featuring YHC’s student storytellers, and a YHC ghost story tour of campus.

Saturday’s schedule features performances by a variety of featured tellers. Other activities and offerings include a quilt display and marketplace with books and CDs created by the tellers and community partners, a children’s storytelling time under the campus gazebo, and a special music performance by The Pressley Girls.

“Everyone working with the festival is so excited to share this event with our community,” said Associate Professor of English and Director of the Rhetorica Program Amanda Lawrence, Ph.D. “We hope you will join us for world-class storytelling at Young Harris College.”

Purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommended. Advance ticket sales will run through Friday, March 18, and may be purchased online at You may also purchase tickets in advance by mailing your ticket order and check made payable to Young Harris College to: Dr. Amanda Lawrence, Department of English, Young Harris College, 1 College Street, Young Harris, GA 30582. Please notate “storytelling festival” in the subject line.

For more information on the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival, visit

About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. The College currently has more than 1,200 students across five divisions—Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., is currently undergoing major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. Recent LEED-certified campus improvements include the 121,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center, new residence facilities, and a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center. In 2014, the College was granted active membership in NCAA Division II and is a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2015-2016 list of Colleges of Distinction. For more information, visit