Storytellers’ events bringing holiday cheer

Published 9:00 am Monday, November 16, 2015

Have you ever wondered how many of the Christmas traditions – such as hanging stockings by the fireplace – began? If so, join the Front Porch Storytellers to learn about local holiday customs and more during a pair of special events.
The celebration will begin on Friday, Nov. 20, when the Storytellers present “Home for the Holidays” at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area. The event will begin at 7 p.m. in the park Visitor’s Center with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.
Join the Front Porch Storytellers — Mary Jane Kennedy and Chad Bogart — along with their friend and special guest Veronica Hurst for an evening of music and storytelling.
“We have some stories and songs that are really funny, but also some that will touch your heart,” Kennedy said. “If you are not in the holiday spirit when you come in, you will be when you leave.”
The cost to attend “Home for the Holidays” is $5 per person and tickets are sold at the door.
The Front Porch Storytellers will also once again be offering their special Christmas Walks in downtown Elizabethton.
The leisurely walks lead participants through the historic downtown area.
“During the Christmas Walks we talk about the different traditions that were celebrated at different times in this area,” Kennedy said. “We even talk about some of the old businesses that were here.”
“It takes you back in time to when different things were important during the holidays.”
Some of the changes have been to the customs celebrated by local residents. Carter County and Elizabethton have a strong Irish and Scottish influence on traditions as well as influences from other cultures such as Dutch. Kennedy and Bogart will share some of the different traditions that were brought to this area from the Old Country.
One of the old traditions, Kennedy said, was to light a bonfire along the banks of the river as a sort of guiding light.
“They say it was pretty amazing to see because the fire would reflect off the water,” she said.
The pair will also discuss some of the holiday superstitions that were prevalent in ages past.
“There were a lot of superstitions brought over from the old countries,” Kennedy said.
Those taking part in the walk will also have a chance to play a traditional holiday game, Kennedy said.
“There will also be some caroling,” Kennedy said. “It is really a fun night and it gives you the feeling of old-time Christmas.”
The Christmas Walks will be held on Thursday, Dec. 10 and Thursday, Dec. 17. The Walks will begin at the Elizabethton-Carter County Public Library at 6 p.m. and last for 90 minutes. The cost to participate in the Walk is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $10 for veterans and $10 for children age 9 to 12. The Walks are limited to 20 people, so those wanting to take part must make a reservation by calling 423-542-9360.

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