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Step into the art of storytelling as the Azalea Storytelling Festival returns for its 28th year!

From March 1st to March 3rd, LaGrange College’s Callaway Auditorium will come alive with enchanting tales spun by some of the nation’s top storytellers. Here are some fun activities and dining options to fill your weekend in between fables and folklore.


Friday, March 1st – Taste of Lemon and Treasure Hunting

Located in a former Methodist church building, Taste of Lemon is Southern comfort cuisine at its finest. The passionate staff serve up lunch in a meat-and-three style, with poppy seed chicken, country fried steak and salmon croquettes routinely paired with vegetable sides like green beans, okra, sweet potatoes and turnip greens.

There are countless treasures to be found in downtown LaGrange. Around every corner is something new and intriguing. Whether you have a specific treasure in mind or want to be inspired, downtown’s antique stores are waiting for you with unlimited possibilities.

As the sun sets, join us at 7:30 PM in LaGrange College’s Callaway Auditorium for the Friday Evening Storytelling Concert. Let Donald Davis, Bill Lepp, Josh Goforth, Regi Carpenter, and emcee Carol Cain transport you through their captivating narratives.

Saturday, March 2nd – Saturday Stories & Hillside BBQ

Enjoy a jam-packed Saturday headlining three incredible storytelling concerts. Concerts will be presented by Donald Davis, Bil Lepp, Josh Goforth, Regi Carpenter, and Carol Cain (emcee) at 9:30 AM, 2:30 PM, and 7:30 PM, with breaks for lunch and dinner.

During the festival intermission, head on over to The Oink Joint for a delicious BBQ lunch. Oink Joint is a Hillside neighborhood favorite, specializing in hickory-smoked meats, homemade sides, specialty menu items, and BBQ-inspired fusion, like BBQ nachos and tacos. 

Top off your lunch with a quick trip next door for ice cream at Rock Salt Milk Bar. Chocolate brownie and caramel banana flavors come highly recommended, and their waffle bowls are second to none. 

Sunday, March 3rd – Sunday Strolls and Sacred Storytelling

The final event of this inspiring festival, the Sunday Morning Sacred Storytelling session, will begin at 10:30 AM with coffee and donuts, a dulcimer concert, and light storytelling from 8:30 – 9:30 AM.

If you fancy a post-storytelling afternoon stroll, explore the magical Hills & Dales Estate. This stunning property was once the home of Fuller E. Callaway, a respected business magnate and prominent LaGrange citizen. The majestic home and gardens that make up the estate have hosted delegates and leaders from across the world. One visit to Hills & Dales Estate and you will understand its worldwide appeal.

This Year’s Storytellers

From left: Donald Davis, Bil Lepp, Josh Goforth, Regi Carpenter, Carol Cain


Donald Davis was born in a Southern Appalachian Mountain world rich in stories. While he heard many traditional stories about Jack and other heroic characters, he was most attracted to the stories of his own family and places of origin. Davis begins retelling the stories he heard and then adding his own new stories to them until he was repeatedly asked to “tell it again, on purpose.”

During his twenty-five-year career as a United Methodist Minister, Davis began to use stories more and more. He was also asked to begin performing at festivals and in other settings until he retired from the church to tell stories full time.


Bil Lepp is an award-winning storyteller, author, and recording artist. Bil’s humorous, family friendly tall-tales and stories have earned the appreciation of listeners of all ages and from all walks of life. Though a five time champion of the WV Liars’s Contest, Lepp’s stories often contain morsels of trüth which present universal themes in clever and witty ways. Audiences all across the country, from grade schools to corporate execs to the Comedy Central’s Hudson stage, have been delighted by Bil’s hilarious tales and delightful insights into everyday life. He is the recipient of the Vandalia Award, West Virginia’s highest folk honor.


Josh Goforth is a superstar in waiting. “He shows the same promise I saw in Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill in the 70s.” -Hugh Sturgill (Producer)

Josh grew up in Madison County, North Carolina surrounded by the music and stories of his ancestors. He is a highly accomplished storyteller and old-time, bluegrass, and swing musician playing close to 20 instruments. His fiddling was featured in the movie, Songcatcher, both onscreen and on the soundtrack. He has performed in all 50 states, throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia and gracing such stages as the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and The Grand Ole Opry. He was nominated for a Grammy for his 2009 release with David Holt, entitled “Cutting Loose.”


For over twenty years, Regi Carpenter has been utilizing the power of stories to motivate, inspire, energize and focus individuals in corporate, academic and non-profit settings. Her keynotes uplift people as they are reminded of the tremendous impact each individual has within an organization. Regi’s keynotes are noted for their insight, humor and effectiveness.


Carol Cain is a native of Hogansville, Georgia. She first discovered the power of storytelling 34 years ago, as a new mother, when her 12th grade English students begged for stories about her son to get her off the topic of British literature. For the past 28 years, Cain has performed as Rosie the Riveter, sharing with audiences of all ages the stories of women workers in World War II.

Where To Stay

Explore our lodging options for a perfect stay during the Azalea Storytelling Festival weekend. Book now and join us for a weekend of rich stories, flavors, and experiences!