Donald Davis performs on the Callaway Auditorium stage at Azalea Storytelling Festival

Azalea Storytelling Festival kicks off

The 23rd Azalea Storytelling Festival returns to Callaway Auditorium this weekend, bringing nationally recognized artists together for a weekend full of storytelling concerts. The event has been recognized as one of the oldest storytelling festivals in the state of Georgia and was named one of the top 20 events in the 12 Southeastern states by the Southeast Tourism Society.  

Joyce Morgan, one of the co-founders of ASF, is excited to have the festival return to LaGrange.

“We are thrilled to welcome back Donald Davis, who has been with us from the very beginning,” she said. “He will be joined by crowd favorites Tim Lowry and Ed Stivender.”

Carol Cain

Carol Cain ’85 of Hogansville will also return as emcee.

Morgan said a new storyteller will be in the lineup this year.

“I heard Josh Goforth for the first time in Troy, Alabama, and I knew our audiences would love him.”

The festival’s committee has been working hard to build a local audience.

“We draw about 2,500 people each year, with almost 200 patrons attending from 23 states and several foreign countries,” Morgan said. “But there just weren’t that many people from LaGrange coming.”

So during the year, the committee has sponsored events such as a Taste of Storytelling, Stories in the Garden at Hills and Dales, Storytelling with Friends and the Donald Davis summer storytelling workshop at the college to raise awareness of the art form.   

Donald Davis

“It’s wonderful to see our friends and neighbors discover the joys of storytelling,” she said. “We always say that if you just go once, you’ll see what you’ve been missing and won’t want to miss another one.”

Davis, who is one of the country’s most renowned storytellers, said this year marks the 30th anniversary of his first visit to LaGrange.

“I was invited by the late Pat Gay, children’s librarian at LaGrange Memorial Library, to come and read to the children,” he said. “It wasn’t long afterward that I met with Pat, the late Evelyn Jordan and Joyce Morgan to talk about beginning a storytelling festival in LaGrange.”

He said the town holds a special place in his heart.

Josh Goforth

“I love how all the organizations work together to make good things happen for the community,” he said. “The college, civic clubs, schools and churches – not just with the storytelling festival, but with everything.”

Davis has been in LaGrange all week, spinning tales at schools, libraries, civic clubs and colleges. He also spoke to theater and education classes at the college.

He was born in the mountains of North Carolina in a world rich in stories and tales. Davis also was a United Methodist Church minister for 25 years. The author of 18 books and more than 40 original recordings, he is the recipient of both the Circle of Excellence and the Lifetime Achievement awards from the National Storytelling Network.

Tim Lowry

Grammy nominee Josh Goforth has performed in every U.S. state and abroad, including performances at Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ole Opry. He is a musician, playing mostly the fiddle, but also almost 10 other instruments. He earned a Grammy nomination for his work with David Holt.

For more than 25 years, Tim Lowry has been telling stories “of the people, by the people and for the people,” providing a variety of folk tales and stories from American history to thousands of listeners across the country. He majored in theater at college, and was an English language arts teacher for five years. In 2000, he left the classroom to become a professional storyteller.   

Ed Stivender

Described as “the Robin Williams of storytelling” and “a Catholic Garrison Keillor,” Stivender is recognized as one of America’s finest storytellers. He has appeared at festivals in Ireland, Austria, Indonesia and New Zealand, as well as events all over the country. The National Storytelling Association inducted him into its Circle of Excellence in 1996.

During this weekend’s event, performances from area musicians will precede every concert. The schedule includes Carter White, gospel pianist, 6:50 p.m., Friday; Strings Attached children’s string ensemble from the LaGrange Symphony Youth Orchestra, 9 a.m., Saturday; Coyote and pianist David Fountain, 1:30 p.m. Saturday; Front Porch Collective, 6:50 p.m., Saturday; and Dulcimer Troupers, 8:30 a.m., Sunday.

The Azalea Storytelling Festival is affiliated with the Lafayette Society for Performing Arts and has received the Troup County Tourism Visionary Award, as well as the National Storytelling Leadership Award.  

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Tickets also will be available at the door.


Cultural Enrichment events

Today (Friday)

  • “Red Tails” film, 7 p.m., Dickson Assembly Room


  • Go Global Study-Away Fair, 11:15 a.m., Dickson Assembly Room
  • Town Hall Meeting, 6 p.m., Dickson Assembly Room
  • Northside Hospital Nurse Residency Program. 11:15 a.m., West Side Nursing senior classroom



  • National Security: General John Jumper; 11:15 a.m., Lamar Dodd Lecture Hall
  • “Mors Eloquentiae” with artist Duane Paxson, 1 p.m., Lamar Dodd Lecture Hall


In the headlines

LaGrange College brings in more than $70 million through campaign – LaGrange Daily News, Feb. 23, 2019

Participants in first annual DiversePower Grand Prix awarded scholarships – LaGrange Daily News, Feb. 25, 2019

Panthers sweep USA South series – LaGrange Daily News, Feb. 25, 2019

LaGrange College, Greenpower USA understand need for STEM – LaGrange Daily News, Feb. 27, 2019


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Video of the Week



Baseball batter swinging

The Panthers (7-3, 2-0 USA South) swept a doubleheader from N.C. Wesleyan by scores of 7-5 and 6-3 on Monday in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Freshmen Cael Chatham and Liam Moreno hit home runs in the second game win. Junior pitcher Richie Post struck out a career-high 11 in Game 1.

Women's tennis player on the court

Women’s tennis
The LaGrange women’s tennis team opened its USA South schedule with a 9-0 win over visiting Wesleyan on Wednesday. Freshmen Callaway Cook, Makayla Red and Ansley Moody won their first conference matches.

Softball player swinging a bat

The Panthers opened the 2019 season losing to Birmingham-Southern 8-0 and 10-0 in a non-conference doubleheader Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama. Junior Taylor Long had a hit and stole two bases for LC.


Upcoming sporting events

Saturday, March 2
Softball vs. Meredith (doubleheader), LC Softball Complex, 2/4 p.m.
Baseball vs. Berea (doubleheader), Cleaveland Field at Williamson Stadium, 2/5 p.m.

Sunday, March 3
Softball vs. William Peace (doubleheader), LC Softball Complex, noon/2 p.m.
Baseball vs. Berea, Cleaveland Field at Williamson Stadium, 2 p.m.

Golf at Callaway Gardens Intercollegiate, Mountain View Golf Course, Pine Mountain, Georgia

Golf at Callaway Gardens Intercollegiate, Mountain View Golf Course, Pine Mountain, Georgia
Baseball vs. Emory, Cleaveland Field at Williamson Stadium, 7  p.m.

Baseball vs. Roanoke, Cleaveland Field at Williamson Stadium, 3  p.m.
Men’s tennis vs. Huntingdon, LC Tennis Courts, 4 p.m.

Softball at Piedmont (doubleheader)
Men’s and women’s tennis vs. Gordon, LC tennis courts, TBA


Campus notes

Members of the college community visit the capital to speak with representatives.

Members of LaGrange College’s Leadership Council met with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday to discuss issues affecting independent higher education in the state. Pictured are, from left, George Bailey, Leadership Council; Dr. John Tures, Political Science Professor; Curtis Brown, president-elect of the Leadership Council; Gov. Kemp; Michele Smith, Leadership Council and wife of State Rep. Vance Smith (District 133); Rebecca Roth Nicks, Vice President for External Relations; Debby Baker, Communications and Marketing; and Jake Jones, Leadership Council.

Service Saturday will be from 8:45 a.m. until noon March 16. The project this semester will be focusing on the beautification of Calumet Park. Volunteers will meet in Dickson Assembly Room at 8:45 a.m. before dispersing in teams. Lunch will be served after the service project. If interested, register here.

LaGrange College nursing students are partnering with The Thread walking trail to conduct a free study designed to help participants become healthier and more active. The students will be at The Thread field on West Haralson Street from 10 a.m. until noon on March 9. Just look for the LaGrange College tent. For more information, call 706-880-8652 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. weekdays or email