Highland County Arts Council to Present Storytelling and Ice Cream Social at Church of the Old Oak on July 13

The Highland County Arts Council’s annual storytelling event on July 13 is taking on a more meaningful twist this year, partnering with other organizations including funding received through the Youth Philanthropy Council to bring the stories of Highland to life for years to come.


Here’s Highland Historical Society executive director Lori Botkin to tell us more:


“I have a box of cassette tapes here at the museum that the school classes, I believe it was middle school under Ginny Neil, where students had gone and talked to ‘the old people’ in the county. Many many who have passed since then. This ran from 1998 to 2006 and this resulted in 100s of interviews. I don’t have them all on cassettes, but they did books each year as well with a summary of the interview.”


Botkin is working to have each of these cassette tapes digitized and cataloged so they can be easily accessible to those visiting the museum. A grant from the Youth Philanthropy Council provided some new equipment that allowed for additional stories to be collected, especially since so many of the original storytellers had already passed. Anna Chambers has been working with volunteer Cappie Hull to collect some of these new stories.


“I was really excited to get to be a part of this. We interviewed three different people, and I learned so much, especially since I’m not originally from here,” said Chambers.


The entire project is a joint endeavor between the Highland Children’s House, The Highland County Arts Council, Valley Program for Aging Services, and the Highland Historical Society.


For the event on July 13 at 6 p.m. at the Church of the Old Oak, local storytellers will be sharing some of their own stories and descendants, friends and residents are invited to read stories collected by area students years ago. 


“So I have the books with the summaries, and that’s where we’ll get the readings from for the storytelling, at least some of them. That’s been my passion because I’m afraid we’re losing the front porch storytelling. You know where you sat around at granddad’s knee and hear him talk about coon hunting. You know we’ve lost that!”


Come out on July 13 for a good ‘ole fashioned ice cream social with storytelling to learn more about this amazing project and relish the history of our community.

Story By


Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

Current Weather