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N-S exhibit car to make only Tenn. stop during October Sky fest in OS

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Norfolk Southern Corp. has confirmed its exhibit car will be on display in Oliver Springs on Oct. 20 at the October Sky Fall Festival.

Admission is free to the public.

The exhibit car is a restored 1926 Pullman that was converted to a mobile museum in 1971. Norfolk has completed the restoration of the exhibit car for its 30th anniversary.

Oliver Springs will be one of 15 stops across the country and the only appearance in Tennessee.

The October Sky Fall Festival is a free, family-oriented extravaganza hosted by the Oliver Springs Historical Society and the town of Oliver Springs.

The festival has grown immensely in size and popularity since it began in 2008.

Oliver Springs spills over three counties, and “Heritage at the Depot” is a new feature focusing on the history of Roane, Anderson and Morgan counties.

In addition to the exhibit car, attractions include a quilt show and music by Kenneth Smith at the depot.

Exhibitors include representation from the East Tennessee Historical Society, African American Heritage Alliance, Windrock Coal Miners, Coal Creek Watershed Foundation “Welsh Miners of Anderson County” (represented by Berry Thacker) and area churches. Families sharing their histories will also be present.

In addition, Byron Severson will autograph his book, “Amazing Baseball Heroes.”

The festival will begin on Oct. 19 with a twilight walk through the Old Town. Costumed storytellers will be at each stop.

The walk will end on Main Street with a re-enactment of “The Pony Cash Story,” written and directed by Robbie Underwood.

At 10 a.m. Oct. 20, the festival will open at two locations, Arrowhead Park and historic depot on Winters Gap Road.

Other attractions play on the name of the festival, which celebrates Oliver Springs’ role as one of the locations in “October Sky,” a movie that helped launch the career of Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal. The 1999 movie was based on the Homer Hickam Jr. book “The Rocket Boys.”

Those activities include a rocket launch by Mike Lawson and Sterling Edmonds, members of the Smoky Mountain Amateur Rocketry Team; Barbara Hileman, author of “The Making of Rocket Boys/Movie Extras;” and a tour of the movie sites.

Additional attractions include the Three Rivers Antique Tractor Club, Fort Southwest Point Revolutionary War camp, Shriner clowns, crafts, food, many children’s activities, mule-drawn wagon rides and storyteller Diane Hackworth.

The day will conclude with gospel and Bluegrass music. Area resident Greg Johnson, a Pigeon Forge entertainer, will perform his “Tribute to Elvis.”

Visit www.oshistorical.com for more about the festival.

To be a part of October Sky Fall Festival as a volunteer or a vendor, contact Lorraine Boling at 435-0385 or hlchannell@comcast.net.