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Museum of Appalachia holding 33rd homecoming

Associated Press Modified: October 12, 2012 at 11:02 am •  Published: October 12, 2012

NORRIS, Tenn. (AP) — Year after year, the lure of nonstop mountain music, old-time crafts and camaraderie beckons them back.

Some come from thousands of miles away to watch and listen, to perform or to showcase traditional skills and old-timey foods, from sassafras tea to homemade mincemeat.

It's the 33rd annual Tennessee Fall Homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia.

For 30 festivals now, Floyd and Melissa Anderson of Milledgeville, Ga., have staked out a shady spot to display all of the steps in basket weaving — from white oak log to finished product — and tout their wares.

"We've met so many people and become friends with them, it's just like it says — it's a homecoming," Melissa Anderson said.

With picture-perfect weather in the forecast for the three-day event and musicians performing on five outdoor stages, museum President Elaine Irwin Meyer said between 5,000 and 10,000 visitors are expected each day.

"I like the music and the people and the surroundings," said 86-year-old Tom Bell of Louisville, Ky. This will be the 22nd year in a row that he's made the 225-mile trek from his home.

Thursday was Heritage Day — the kickoff before homecoming and set aside for kids.

Some 2,000 schoolchildren visited the 60-acre museum, dotted with log homes and other historic structures from Appalachia's yesteryear.

They played games from that bygone era, watched demonstrations and savored samples of sorghum molasses.

After they leave, Bell said his usual strategy is to stake out front-row center seats for the main stage performances.

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