Tennessee Fall Homecoming Educates and Entertains

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Norris (WVLT) -- The Museum of Appalachia's Tennessee Fall Homecoming wrapped up early Sunday evening.

Organizers say it's one of the country's largest old-time festivals, bringing some of the best music, crafts, and food, all to one place, for one action-packed weekend.

Some might call it a history lesson for the senses.

Others go as far as proclaiming it a sounding board for the Appalachia's musical heritage.

"We're mostly Scotch-Irish," says James Garland, one of the homecoming's musicians. "To me it's in all of our music, you get the bagpipe sound."

Garland is an example of how an impromptu concert can educate the audience on everything from history to the principals of a musical instrument.

"We can't live without our music," he says, "I mean really, in the old days that's all we had."

The vocals and strings harmonize a voice which those who play hope never goes silent.

"Traditions are important cause we don't know where we've been, we don't know where we're going," said Bill Alexander, one of the homecoming's artisans.

The Appalachia's old lore can even be told through a more solid craft, as several artisans like Alexander showed off the versatility and ingenuity of mountain folk.

Their annual Tennessee Fall Homecoming proves that much of the history of the Appalachia isn't written down, but preserved in the homestead.

"Without the festival I would have no platform to meet people that remember the style of basket that I make," Alexander said.

Those who attended the event had one thing in common, a homegrown passion for the more basic way of life.

A passion easily quenched because for mere pocket change, it's easy to get a taste.

Mountain treats like sassafras tea were readily available, with people rooted in the Appalachia standing by to let you in on the secret.

"This is something you can go out and dig up," explained one, "and you don't have to go to the store and buy it."

Mountain crafters put on their own demonstrations with each endeavor requiring skill and a swift hand.

The sounds of their hammers rang out in the air, hammer home the idea of just how intertwined their crafts are.

According to Bill Alexander, the event teaches one of the Appalachia's life lessons.

"It's the people behind the music and the people behind the objects that are worth telling a story."

Due to this year's good weather, the festival met and may have even exceeded the usual attendance.

You can find out more about the event and the Museum of Appalachia by clicking on the link below.

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