The annual Paris Storytelling Festival is held in the beautiful and architecturally significant towns of Paris and Carlisle, Kentucky, surrounded by charming Bluegrass horse farms and historical culture. The festival is geared to the old and the new, bringing together counties steeped in tradition yet open to the youth of tomorrow. Stories, music, history and hospitality abound as the communities come together to celebrate and share their love of story.
may 13 – 15, 2022
A native of West Virginia, Adam Booth is a four time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ competition. Seven years ago he started the Speak Stories Series at the Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities and now serves as the Storyteller in Residence at Shepherd University where also teaches. Booth is an award winning teacher, storyteller and musician. He tells traditional mountain folklore, ghost stories, family stories, Appalachian tales, as well as original stories. “When we tell stories, we build community, and we also build our ability to listen. It’s important for us to be telling our stories, to talk about what Appalachia is and what it looks like.”
Kim Weitkamp grew up in Amish Country as the middle child of exhausted parents. She has always been high-spirited, uncooperative and too talkative which she channeled into a lifetime of high-energy, heartfelt and hilarious artistry. She has won numerous awards as a storyteller, author, singer-songwriter and humorist. After working with at-risk youth for 12 years, Kim took a turn onto a different avenue of story and song which led her down the path of full-time touring for the last 15 years.
She has been a featured storyteller at the National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee and at theaters and festivals throughout the country and recorded eight award-winning albums. Kim’s stories can leave you laughing or crying but they always have a message to leave.
Michael Johnathon grew up in New York, and is currently a resident of Bourbon County and host of the weekly Woodsongs: Old Time Radio Hour produced in Lexington, Kentucky and broadcast to over 154 radio stations. He is a multi-talented American folk singer-songwriter, producer, author and playwright.
After leaving New York and working as a disc jockey in Texas, he bought a guitar and banjo and settled in the isolated mountain hamlet of Mousie, Kentucky. But unless you have read his books or listened to him speak, you probably don’t know that he is a natural storyteller, too. “Neighbors can make you think, and that can only lead to a better way of life.”
Regi Carpenter is an award-winning performer as well as a writer, teacher, and performance coach. She has toured as a performer and done workshops in theaters, festivals, schools, and even backyards, both nationally and internationally, including as a featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee. She currently teaches storytelling at Ithaca College but has spent the last 20 years bringing songs and stories to audiences of all ages. Many of her stories deal with growing up on the Saint Lawrence River in Clayton, New York. Tales of underwater tea parties, drowning lessons and drives to the dump are part of her repertoire as the youngest daughter of a family that pulsated with contradictions: religious and raucous, tender but terrible, unfortunate yet irrepressible.
Octavia Sexton is from Rockcastle County and grew up telling stories. She attended a one room schoolhouse where the children would gather at recess and tell each other stories. She has performed in schools, detention centers, at professional development for artists and educators, in libraries and community programs and addiction recovery programs. She also mentors up-and-coming storytellers “to find their own voice.” She tells stories handed down from her grandparents using her English, Irish and Cherokee ancestry, folktales, ghost stories, Appalachian stories, and family tales that teach an appreciation of our Kentucky heritage as well as individual stories that range from extremely funny to poignant.
A 12-year-old youth storyteller from Booneville, Kentucky, Sky is part of a new generation of storytellers.