Front Porch Storytellers ready to launch 9th year of Historic Ghost Walks

Published 9:26 am Monday, September 26, 2016

Do you enjoy a good scary story and a shiver down your spine? Or perhaps you like to hear about local legends and mysteries?
If so, the Front Porch Storytellers have just the tale for you as they kick off their eighth season of the community’s original haunted history tour — Historic Ghost Walks of Elizabethton.
Each fall, the Front Porch Storytellers — which consists of local raconteurs Mary Jane Kennedy and Chad Bogart — host a series of walking tours in downtown Elizabethton that are steeped in local lore and legends as well as local history.
Kennedy and Bogart spend months researching the stories and legends they share on the tour each year.
“Chad and I try to find some new stories each year because we have people who come back year after year,” Kennedy said. “We do a lot of the wonderful history here as well as a lot of the wonderful mystery as well.”
Both Kennedy and Bogart are well versed in the subject of local history. This dynamic duo of storytellers both work with Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park where Bogart serves as an historic interpreter and Kennedy volunteers as an archivist.
To add to the atmosphere of the tours, both Kennedy and Bogart perform in costume.
“We dress out in period clothing,” Kennedy said. “We represent the two major historic periods — the Victorian and the Colonial.” Some patrons for the tours also come in costume, Kennedy added.
Tour goers can expect to hear some history and legends on some of the community’s most notable residents.
“They will definitely hear about Samuel P. Carter. They will also hear about Dr. E.E. Hunter,” Kennedy said, adding she didn’t want to give too much away. “There is a story about our founding fathers that Chad tells.”
“Then we have some stories about people who are not so famous, but they want to be remembered apparently,” she added. “We’ve been told time and time again that we’ve told them about history they didn’t know was here.”
While the walk itself is confined to the downtown area, Kennedy said the lore and legends are not.
“We have stories not just about the downtown but about the community as well,” she said, adding some other locations include Siam, Blackbottom and the Carter Mansion.
All of the stories shared on the tour are family friendly, which is something that is important to both Kennedy and Bogart.
“We don’t do gruesome,” Kennedy said. “They will laugh, they might shiver a little bit, and they will have a really good time.”
The walking part of the tour is easy with no strenuous inclines. Kennedy said because the walk stays mainly on sidewalks and paved services people who use walkers have been able to take part in the tours.
Tour dates this year will be as follows: Thursday Oct. 6, Friday Oct. 7, Thursday Oct. 13, Friday Oct. 14, Thursday Oct. 20, and Friday Oct. 28. The tours begin each night at 7:30 p.m. at the Sugar Love Bakery & Cafe — located inside the historic Bonnie Kate Theater — and last for approximately 90 minutes. The tour will complete each night inside the Sugar Love Bakery & Cafe, which will be open so tour goers can enjoy some sweet treats while Kennedy and Bogart share a few more stories for the evening.
“We are so excited,” Kennedy said. “Shonna (Peters), the owner, has just been so sweet.”
In past years, the tour started and finished at the Bonnie Kate Theater but last year Kennedy and Bogart had to a new location after the Bonnie Kate Cafe closed down and the building was shut up.
“We are so excited to be back home,” Kennedy said. “We are so pleased that Shonna was willing to let us do this.”
The cost to take part in the Historic Ghost Walks of Elizabethton is $12 for adults; $11 for seniors age 60 and older; $10 for veterans and children age 17 and under. Groups of 10 or more in a single party can take part for $10 per person.
Advanced reservations are required as spaces on the tour are limited. Kennedy said they try to keep the walks to no more than 20 persons because with groups larger than that it can be difficult for everyone to get close enough to hear the stories.
“They must call and reserve a spot before the night of the walk,” she said.
Reservations can be made by calling 423-542-9360. Kennedy said if there is no answer to please leave a message and you will receive a call back.
In addition to the fixed tour nights in October, Kennedy said she and Bogart will also book special tours at other times throughout the year for groups of 10 or more.
“We will do special walks for special organizations or groups for special occasions,” Kennedy said. “We will do that any time of the year.” However, she added, no more dates are available in the month of October due to their schedules with Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox