Donald Davis headlines Storytelling Festival

Published 11:00 pm Monday, January 20, 2014

Some might say Appalachian storyteller Donald Davis is like a fine wine: He gets better with age.

Doc Kirby says Davis is actually better than a fine wine because his stories can be absorbed and savored for a lifetime.

Donald Davis, the Dean of Storytelling, will be back at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge on Friday night and at the Trojan Center Theater on Saturday. He will be joined by nationally acclaimed storytellers Barbara McBride-Smith, Bil Lepp and Dolores Hydock.

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Kirby, a WTBF Radio personality, has been a fan of Donald Davis for 15 years.

“I became a fan of Donald Davis when I was reviewing books for August House Publishers,” Kirby said. “That was long before I saw him on stage, so I knew of him first as an outstanding writer of stories. He had CDs of his stories and I became real fan of Donald Davis and of storytelling.”

Kirby said when he heard Donald Davis was coming to the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival in 2007, it was almost too good to be true.

“To be able to see and hear a storyteller of Donald Davis’ reputation here at home was an incredible opportunity,” Kirby said. “He was even better in person than he was on the CDs. He had a devoted fan.”

Kirby said what he enjoys so much about Donald Davis is the stories of simpler times – pre-Mayberry times even.

“But his stories have a universal quality,” Kirby said. “You can relate to them. Maybe something similar happened to you or he tells a story that reminds you of someone in your life.

“Donald Davis’ stories are really funny, and his facial expressions and his body language bring the stories to life,” Kirby said. “But his stories are more than funny. They will touch your heart. Donald Davis is a master storyteller. There’s not another one like him.”

The Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival brings four of the nation’s top storytellers to the stage that last week in January each year.

“To have a storytelling festival of this quality you would expect to have to go to a large city or a densely populated area but we are fortunate to have this unique opportunity in Pike County,” Kirby said. “I’ve was fortunate to be able to see Kathryn Tucker Windham, an Alabama legend, at the festival and Carmen Deedy, a Cuban storyteller and noted author of children’s books. Then, there’s Andy Offutt Irwin who is absolutely hilarious. (There are) just so many wonderful storytellers, and I didn’t have to leave Pike County to see them.”

Concert times for the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival at the Trojan Center Theater on Saturday are 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ($10 each) and 6:30 p.m. ($15). The Friday night concert is sold out. All concerts feature pre-show music 30 minutes prior to storytelling concerts and stories by all four tellers. Different stories are told at each concert.

Tickets are available at studio 116 on Main Street in downtown Brundidge and The Messenger in Troy or by calling 334-735-3125 or 334-670-6302 or 334-685-5524.