Storytelling at the Blueberry Jubilee

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 4, 2017

For more than 30 years, the Poplarville Storytellers have recited various tall tales of both fact and fiction at the Blueberry Jubilee each summer.
Most of the storytellers are local, sharing tales that relate to the Poplarville community, storyteller Mary Etta Moody said.
The group has been performing in Poplarville for 36 years and is the oldest storytelling group in the Deep South, she said.
During the Jubilee, storytellers gather at the United Methodist Church annex to share their hair-raising tales.
One featured guest will be a storyteller from Oxford, Dr. Rebecca Jernigan, Moody said.
Jernigan is one of the original storytellers in the South. She is very creative and has even been featured in movies and on stage, Moody said.
Many of the storytellers, including the group’s founder Hattie Gentry and Moody, have travelled the country sharing their stories.
Lately, the group has performed for children and senior citizens through various programs, with each batch of stories adapted to suit the audience, Moody said.
But the best part of the event is seeing the stories come to life, Moody said.
“When they talk, when you listen to the story and you see it in your mind,” she said. “It’s like seeing a movie by somebody you know.”
Some storytellers write their own tales, while others pull from memories or stories of the past, Moody said.
She often tells stories about meeting esteemed writers like William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams when she was younger, or a story about her aunt that died in China and had to be flown around the world in order to be buried in New Orleans.
The important thing about storytelling is to take something and make it unique to each storyteller, Moody said.
The group will be at the church Saturday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to noon for anyone that wants to listen.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

email author More by Julia