Today is Wednesday, June 28, 2017

'Dumplin Days' slated for weekend

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By CONNIE ESHThe Wilson Post

When the Dumplin’ Days and Story Telling Festival comes to Fiddler’s Grove on Saturday, Bil Lepp will be there telling tall tales.

Lepp is a nationally renowned storyteller and five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest. As a self-proclaimed veteran liar, Lepp has been featured at the National Storytelling Festival, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and at major storytelling events across the country.

He is the author of four books and eight audio collections, and lives in Charleston, W.Va. with his wife and two children.

Also telling tales will be Julia Cawthon, a Volunteer State Community College professor who graduated from Cumberland University, and 9-year-old Hannah Smythe, who has been telling enchanting stories since she was 5.

Storytelling workshops will start at 9 a.m. with the storytellers telling their favorite tales throughout the day on the back porch of the General Store at Fiddler’s Grove.

And when the storytellers take a break, Bryan Keith will be playing country music on the porch.

In another form of storytelling, puppeteer Marsha Garrett will be presenting a puppet show called “How Neddie Jacobs killed a bear at Town Creek.”

The play is written by Gwen Scott of Mt Juliet, who is one of Jacobs’ descendents. Jacobs built the first log cabin in what is now Lebanon, a replica of which may be seen on the Square.

In the first act, the local animals tell what they saw, and in the second Jacobs laments over what Mrs. Loyeula will do to him when she finds he has dragged the bear through her herb garden.

And that’s only the beginning. There will be Southern Gospel music at the church, a historic tour of the Grove, marble games and a corn hole tournament, too. 

The day will start off with a 5K Run at 9 a.m., with registration starting at 8 a.m. said Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sue Vanatta.

The main dumplin’ event will be a cook off, which is open to all good cooks, but only one member of a family may participate in each of the two categories, adult and youth, Vanatta said.

While admission to the Grove is free, there is a fee of $10 to cook in the contest due by Friday. So far, five cooks have entered, so get out your recipes and come on down to the Grove. 

All cooking must be done on site and can’t start until 10 a.m. with finished products to be presented for judging between 11:50 a.m. and noon.

Cooks must provide all of their own equipment and tables, but electricity will be available.

All types of dumplings can be entered. Prizes for the adult category are $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third. The youth prizes are $75, $50 and $25, respectively. For entry forms, contact Lebanon Chamber.

The marble games will be led by National Marble Champion Jeff Kimell who will demonstrate winning techniques for future marble players, said Scott who is also a member of the committee.

There will also be a marble making demonstration and a presentation about the history of marbles, Scott said.

The event would allow scouts to qualify for merit badges.

The Corn Hole competition also has a entry fee, $20 per person. This event will take place from 1 until 5 p.m., with the chamber providing the targets and the bags for competition. Six teams are already registered for that competition.

Participants can bring their own equipment to practice before the event, Vanatta said.

To round the day off there will be a walking tour of the grove to meet historical characters starting at 5 p.m. Walkers will meet a school marm at the school house. Jack Cato as Uncle Hershel from the early days of Cracker Barrel will greet people and talk about his life.

Young Sam Houston, who started his law practice in town, the first lady sheriff in Wilson County or for that matter the U.S., General Hatton, a circuit riding preacher, and a millworker are also on the agenda.

Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at

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