NORRIS, Tenn. – The Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee has announced that their annual Tennessee Fall Homecoming event has come to an end. The festival started in 1980 as a one-time event to recognize, display and celebrate the disappearing music and culture of the Southern Appalachians, but grew over the years into a multi-day event attended by tens of thousands of people annually.
According to the Museum’s Board of Directors Chairman, Stephen Dean, the event had grown to the point of requiring more than three thousand hours planning, promoting, and executing.
“Homecoming was an enormous investment for a museum of our size,” Dean said, “and if we lost a day of attendance due to weather, we simply could not make it up. Even if a Homecoming was successful financially, the amount of time and effort invested simply wasn’t justifiable. We have to be responsible for the entire Museum’s operation.”
The 38th and final Homecoming, held this past October, was one of their most well-received events. They introduced all-new evening concerts featuring artists like Lee Ann Womack and The SteelDrivers. As a result, they boasted record-breaking attendance and attracted new visitors.
“It was a wonderful send-off for this beloved festival,” said Museum President Elaine Meyer, daughter of Museum founder, John Rice Irwin. “We will always look back at Homecoming as a wonderful and important experience, not only for the Museum, but also for the thousands of visitors who attended over the years. But today, our mission to preserve and showcase the museum’s significant historical collection of artifacts and stories must come to the forefront.”
However, that doesn’t mean that the Museum will stop hosting entertaining and educational special events. Meyer said, “Discontinuing Homecoming will allow the Museum to host more activities and events throughout the year, because we won’t be spending all of our time planning for a single event.”
The Museum of Appalachia, an internationally acclaimed living history farm/village located 16 miles north of Knoxville, is home to a unique collection of early pioneer artifacts from the Southern Appalachian Mountains. A non-profit organization, the Museum’s mission is to preserve Appalachian artifacts and instill in the community—regionally, nationally, and internationally—a greater knowledge of, and appreciation for, the Appalachian heritage.
For additional information, call 865-494-7680 or visit www.museumofappalachia.org.