published Friday, February 18th, 2011

Ford to cook up a few tales for Ocoee Story Fest


* What: Ocoee Story Fest.

* When: 7 p.m. today.

* Where: Foundation Room, Student Center Building, Cleveland State Community College, 3535 Adkisson Drive, Cleveland, Tenn.

* Admission: $5 ($15 family maximum).

* Phone: 423-479-2476.

* Website:

Lyn Ford says her father was the worst cook but the best storyteller she ever knew.

So while the featured speaker in tonight's 16th annual Ocoee Story Fest at Cleveland State Community College has followed his footsteps in becoming a storyteller, she also has honored his cooking by calling her stories Home-Fried Tales.

"I still feel that way," the Ohio resident said of her dad. "There was something about his voice. He had a strong, deep voice, and he knew how to make it soft and gentle and powerful to characterize the different characters in the story and bring the story to a head."

The Story Fest, which will be held in the college student center's Foundation Room, will have both a general public and a children's component.

Ford said she would tell stories in the general public session from her "Afrilachian" point of view -- she said she had roots from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee up to Pennsylvania. They will include Jack tales and personal stories, all "pretty much humorous and from the heart," she said.

For young people, she said, she will present a program called "Let's Throw Stones," in which she tells stories rooted in African, African-American and West Indian folk tales. The throwing, she said, deals with the concept of sharing the story.

"If I do a good job of tossing it out," Ford said, the audience can "give it back to me by the way they respond and enjoy the story."

As a fourth-generation storyteller with black, American Indian and white roots, she said her stories are often "about community and how we're entitled all to be different but to be all one community."

Her storytelling career, Ford said, started with the things she heard as a child, primarily from her father and grandfather, but she said those generations are dying away. Now, she said, a good bit of research goes into selecting and honing her stories.

The Ocoee Story Fest was begun by the Cleveland Storytelling Guild in 1996 and continues to be sponsored by the group.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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