Monday, October 21, 2013

West Virginia Storytelling Festival, Jackson's Mill

I intended to write more about Grantchester this evening, but after a long day of driving I am going to take a rain check on that post and instead share photos of last week's storytelling festival at Jackson's Mill, WV. The Mill, as it is called by those who love it, was the boyhood home of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and today is operated by WVU's Extension Service as a Conference Center and 4-H camp.

This was the 17th year for the storytelling festival, making it the oldest one in West Virginia. I've been a teller at all but two of those years--I was a listener the first year, just getting my feet wet with storytelling, and had another engagement another year (I believe it was 1999). Being part of this festival every year is something I treasure: the faces, the familiar staff, the lovely grounds, and the knowledge that I am walking on historic ground combine to create an atmosphere that is positive and forward-looking while still acknowledging and respecting the past.

The Extension Services staff are excellent to work with. The event goes smoothly; all I need to worry about is being ready with new stories and getting there on time. The rest is taken care of.

4-H agents from around the state come to help with crowd control and logistics. They know and love kids and bring high energy and enthusiasm to the festival.

Early morning at the mill before the buses arrived:

 
In the assembly hall, all is in readiness:


And here they are! One entire school, that fills the room corner to corner. Did we have fun? Yes we did! Hmm, I look like the Headless Woman in this photo.
 
 
Nope, still have my head. Whew.

 
Millstones are everywhere at Jackson's Mill. Wonder why?


One of two log cabins on the property. This one has a kitchen attached by a dogtrot, a wise move in the days of frequent kitchen fires.

The McWhorter cabin, reflected in the mill pond:
 
Fall color was just beginning to peak.



March Harshman, West Virginia's Poet Laureate, ramps it up wit the kids. He's an excellent storyteller and presenter. How many poets do you know who love being around children?

At the West Virginia building, the buses line up:

And inside everyone is ready for a story.

Some members of the Jackson family rest in this peaceful graveyard; looks quiet here, but there is actually a busy road bordering one side.

After the rains on Thursday.

Looking forward to another great festival next year!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

1 comment:

Nance said...

I don't think I have a single Jackson ancestor . . . but I felt 'home' calling me in these photos, across the continent and across the years. Great story, Sue, and photos. I am a West Virginian (?) at heart (thru my Mama and Granny).

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