Thousands gather in Jonesborough for 41st Annual Storytelling Fe - WRBL

Thousands gather in Jonesborough for 41st Annual Storytelling Festival

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JONESBOROUGH, TN (WJHL) -

In the oldest town in Tennessee there are plenty of stories to tell, but this weekend they reach far beyond the confines of the city.

Last weekend about 12,000 people from all over the country came to Jonesborough for the 41st annual National Storytelling Festival.

"People come and just celebrate being human, celebrate coming together and sharing that human experience," Executive Director of the International Storytelling Center Kiran Singh Sirah said. "12,000 people together in eight tents across the town of Jonesborough you hear people laughing from one tent and screeching from another, it's absolutely brilliant. It's a great atmosphere."

That atmosphere is what has kept Bill and Betta Jacobs coming back year for the past two decades.

"It's just a weekend we would not miss. When people say to us we want to go on a cruise or we want to do this or we want to do that-anytime but the first full weekend in October," Betta Jacobs said.

Every first weekend in October the Jacobs drive eleven hours from their home in Florida.

"It would take something bad to keep us from coming," Jacobs said.

When the storytelling center filed bankruptcy in 2011 it was people like the Jacobs who kept the festival alive.

"We relied on people that love storytelling and who want to see storytelling happen," Singh Sirah said. "People get so excited about seeing their friends once a year and be part of a family, part of a huge gathering of people from all over the world."

Every year the Jacobs meet up with a group of people they met 20 festivals ago.

"We call ourselves the featured listeners and there's over 100 of us," Jacobs said.

They will head back to Florida Monday morning but the festival isn't over for them. On their way home,"we listen to the tapes that we buy and we start counting down the days till next year,"Jacobs said.

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