2022 Flatwater Tales Preview

The 5th Annual Flatwater Tales
Storytelling Festival Returns Live
to the Historic Grove Theater!

The 2022 Flatwater Tales in Oak Ridge, TN, is June 3 4 at the Historic Grove Theater with a workshop on June 2 at the UT Arboretum Auditorium.

Tickets are now available for the June 3 and 4 Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, featuring three nationally renowned storytellers. This annual event will return to the Historic Grove Theater in Oak Ridge, Tennessee for a total of four performances.

The three-day event will feature storytellers Sheila Arnold, Bil Lepp and Kim Weitkamp, known to audiences nationwide for their wit, wisdom and abilities to make audiences laugh, cry and reminisce. Two additional events have been added to the weekend: a workshop by Bil Lepp on Thursday, June 2, and a special tour of historic Oak Ridge by Oak Ridge Historian Ray Smith on Friday June 3.

Highlighting the Friday night show will be acclaimed storyteller Sheila Arnold with a one-time-only telling of her original story, “The Secret City’s Secret City: Scarboro.” This story honors the Scarboro 85, the 85 brave young people from the Scarboro neighborhood in Oak Ridge who were the first to desegregate a public school district in the Southeast after the US Supreme Court decision. Few people know of this 1955 milestone event that took place in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Storytellers Bil Lepp and Kim Weitkamp will also perform Friday evening. Tickets for the Friday evening 7 PM show are $10 for adults and $5 for children who must be 5 and older to attend.

There will be three shows on Saturday, June 4, and each storyteller will share different stories for each performance. Tickets for the morning family show, from 10 to noon, are $10 for adults and $5 for children who must be 5 and older to attend . The afternoon show is from 2 to 5 PM and the evening show is from 7 to 10 PM. Tickets for the afternoon and evening performances are $25 for each show. For groups of 10 or more tickets will be $20 apiece for the afternoon and evening performances. For group sales contact: flatwatertales@gmail.com

Storyteller Bil Lepp will present a special workshop, “Bringing a Story to Life and Including Your Audience in the Experience,” on Thursday June 2, from 2 to 4 PM at the UT Arboretum Auditorium in Oak Ridge. Workshop tickets are $50 and are available at Eventbrite and  the Ferrell Shop (cash or check, only) in Oak Ridge.

A first-time special event has been added to this year’s Flatwater Tales. Oak Ridge Historian Ray Smith will lead a tour of some historic Oak Ridge sites on Friday, June 3rd at 1 PM – 3 PM. Tickets for this free tour are available on Eventbrite and  the Ferrell Shop. The event is FREE but registration is required. Learn the history of Oak Ridge by spending a couple of hours with Ray Smith.

The tour will start at Jackson Square, located near the intersection of Broadway and Kentucky Avenues. Meet in the north parking lot across Broadway Avenue from Jackson Square.

The tour will consist of driving the historic district of alphabet houses, visiting the Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell, the Secret City Commemorative Walk and the Birth of a City monuments. If available, the Y-12 History Center will be included. At the end of the tour there will be an optional visit to the Oak Ridge History Museum ($4 per person).

You don’t want to miss any of the 2022 Flatwater Tales!

Flatwater Tales, held annually the first weekend in June, is an all-volunteer effort led by the three Oak Ridge Rotary Clubs to entertain, bring people together, and to celebrate and support our community.

Flatwater Tales COVID Updates

Your safety, and that of our tellers and volunteers, is a top priority! Flatwater Tales will continue to adapt and update its protocols and procedures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

While we do not require masks, vaccines or negative COVID test results at this time, for the safety of our audience, tellers, and volunteers we respectfully request that all patrons wear masks at all times while inside the Historic Grove Theater. Free masks will available at check-in and in other areas.

If you have been exposed to or test positive for COVID-19 within 5 days of our event please stay home and take care of yourself. Contact Flatwater Tales for a refund of your purchase.

We will update our policies on our website and communicate with ticket holders via email. We understand that guidelines continue to change, and we appreciate your patience.

We will leave some empty seats in the theater for social distancing.

Please email flatwatertales@gmail.com if you have questions. Thank you for your understanding.

“If you love the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough,
or have always wanted to go to it, you don’t want to miss the
Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival in Oak Ridge.”

Donate and Sponsorships

Welcome to our online Donate/Sponsor page. Flatwater Tales is a Rotary Community Service Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Our online donation financial partners are the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club Foundation and the Oak Ridge Rotary’s Community Fund. Both are 501(c)(3) organizations. When you make your online tax deductible donation or sponsorship, the funds will go into their Flatwater Tales account.

If you would like to use a check for your donation, please make it out to the Oak Ridge Rotary Community Fund (or just “ORRCF”), put Flatwater Tales Donation on the memo line, and mail it to:

Flatwater Tales
118 Claymore Ln
Oak Ridge, TN 37830-7674

To Donate to help Flatwater Tales continue its tradition of stellar storytelling with a credit card, please click the Donate button of the page to make you tax-deductible donation.

To become a Sponsor of the 2022 Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival with recognition in our publicity materials and during the events, choose your Sponsorship Level from the list below and click the Donate button below the list.

Complete your transaction by entering your donation amount and, on the next screen enter, “Flatwater Tales” on the “what is it for”  prompt .

Questions, comments? Email us at flatwatertales@gmail.com

Sponsorship Levels
Anecdote                         $100 – $199
Vignette                           $200 – $499
Yarn                                     $500 – $999
Tall Tale                             $1000 to $2,499
Legend                              $2,500 to $4,999 – get 2 comp tickets
Presenting Sponsor $5,000 & above – get 4 comp tickets



Sponsor and Donors 2022

2022 Flatwater Tales Sponsors

Flatwater Tales Community Service Project Sponsor

The 3 Oak Ridge Rotary Clubs

2022 Flatwater Tales Presenting Sponsor

Consolidated Nuclear Security at Y-12

2022 Sponsor of Sheila Arnold’s June 3 Performance
“The Secret City’s Secret City: Scarboro”

Pinnacle Bank

Legends

Patricia Postma

Tall Tales

Oak Ridge Rotary Club
Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club
Martha and David Hobson
Emily and Charlie Jernigan

Yarns

Oak Ridge Sunset Rotary Club
Kay and Bill Whitman

Vignettes

Bridgewater Balance and Hearing
Chuck’s Car Care Center
TNBank

Jan and Stu Elston

Anecdotes

Berta Swain
Clark Eckert

2022 Flatwater Tales Donors

Wayne Blasius
Patrick and Erin Block
Louise Dunlap
Rosolina Erin
Nancy Hardin
Helen Picou
Dottie Thompson
Margueritte Wilson

History Flatwater Tales

2018, the Inaugural Flatwater Tales

On Sunday, June 3 the inaugural Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival, supported by a generous grant from the Oak Ridge Fund for Achieving Community Excellence (ORFace), presented the magic of live storytelling with two performances by three world-class tellers, Bil LeppTim Lowry, and Minton Sparks with guitarist John Jackson. Held at the Oak Ridge Playhouse in Historic Jackson Square, it was an Oak Ridge 75th Birthday event that offered different stories at each show. Performances were from 2 to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Our tellers have achieved national and international recognition and appear regularly at festivals, including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN. Their mesmerizing performances will bring people together to share the magic of this increasingly popular art form.

Kiran Singh Sirah, President of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, TN, honored us by making opening remarks to help inaugurate Flatwater Tales, Oak Ridge’s first storytelling festival.

The Storytelling was the final event of the Flatwater Festival weekend, an annual all-volunteer effort led by the three Oak Ridge Rotary Clubs to entertain and to raise funds for local grants and projects. It kicked off on Friday, June 1 with a 3 hour interactive writing workshop, “Create Your Own Story,” with Minton Sparks.

On Saturday, June 2, the Flatwater Festival continueed on the waterfront from noon to 9 PM. It featureed live music, beer, wine, food trucks, activities for kids, a team-building regatta, cardboard boat races, and much more.

Flatwater Tales Storytelling concluded the weekend with shows from 2 to 5 and 6:30 to 9:30 PM.

“If you can’t go to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough be sure to come to the Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival in Oak Ridge.”

2019, the 2nd Annual Flatwater Tales
Storytelling Festival!

The 2019 Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, washeld from May 31 through June 1.

On Saturday, June 1, the 2nd Annual Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival presented three performances by three world-class tellers: Carmen Agra DeedyBil Lepp, and Bobby Norfolk. The event moved to the Historic Grove Theatre in Grove Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The tellers shared different stories at each show. The performances were held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Family Show), from 2 to 5 p.m., and from 7 to 10 p.m.

Our tellers have achieved international recognition and appear regularly at festivals, including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Their mesmerizing performances bring people together to share the magic of this time-honored, increasingly popular art form.

The storytelling weekend kicked off on Friday, May 31, with a writing workshop. Minton Sparks returned to conduct a 3-hour interactive writing workshop, “My Crazy Kin—Transform Your Family Stories into a Compelling Personal Narrative.”

2020, the 3rd Annual Flatwater Tales
Storytelling Festival Posponed!

The 3rd Annual Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival planned live storytelling with 3 performances by 3 world-class tellers! The Covid19 pandemic forced the show to be rescheduled in 2021.

Set for Saturday, June 6, 2020, the 3rd Annual Flatwater Tales Storytelling Festival had scheduled  Andy Offutt Irwin, Bil Lepp, and Kim Weitkamp to conduct three performances at the Historic Grove Theater in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, with different stories at each show. The performances were to be from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Family Show), from 2 to 5 p.m., and 7 to 10 p.m.

Andy, Bil, and Kim agreed to join us all back in Oak Ridge in June 2021! And meanwhile we are continuing with a significant project to help our venue, the Historic Grove Theater become even better as a significant cultural landmark in our area.

2021, the 4th Annual Flatwater Tales
Storytelling Festival was Virtual!

Our featured storytellers were three acclaimed performers: Andy Offutt Irwin, Bil Lepp, and Kim Weitkamp, known to audiences nationwide for their wit, wisdom and abilities to make audiences laugh, cry and reminisce.

The three tellers recorded a live show before a small audience exclusively for Flatwater Tales. This performance included an unrehearsed improv segment, hosted by emcee Paula Gordon Lepp, a new feature in the storytelling world. Their stories are already unpredictable, and the improv portion built on their creativity and spontaneous story-making. A “blooper” roll and a live after-party will concluded the event. Earlier in the day, each of the tellers led a virtual workshop on aspects of their craft.

Technical aspects of our virtual event was professionally produced by veteran virtual technical artists Six Feet Apart Productions.

Flatwater Tales Created For Oak Ridge Residents and Visitors

This is an annual event offered by the three Rotary Clubs in Oak Ridge. The festival’s goals are to help bring our community together, introduce others to Oak Ridge, support local economic activity, and raise funds for the clubs’ community projects.

We expect to grow Flatwater Tales to include local and regional lore, music, and history, and to help share the Oak Ridge story – past, present, and future – with a wider audience. We want to expand our storytelling training to include helping children, seniors, and veterans find their voices using this age-old art form.

The Oak Ridge Fund for Achieving Community Excellence (ORFace) deemed this project an important addition to the culture of Oak Ridge, long known for outstanding achievement in science, education and the arts. ORFace’s first grant was significant in its support of the first presentation of Flatwater Tales.

ORFace is an affiliate fund of the East Tennessee Foundation, which has supported the 25 counties of East Tennessee through more that $336 million in grants made to worthy projects since 1986.