BIG STONE GAP — Mountain Empire Community College’s Home Crafts Days turned 50 Saturday as it made a live comeback after 2020’s pandemic left it a virtual event.

What started as chilly drizzle and cloudy skies turned into sunshine and a warm fall afternoon across rows of tents housing crafts and musical performances for the first day of the event. Attendees could watch blacksmithing, soapmaking, textiles, pottery, wood carving and even the preparation of a good old 1740s-style steak dinner.

Home Craft Days continues Sunday at the MECC campus. Admission is free for all festival events. MECC is located on US Route 23 just south of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Parking and free shuttle rides for the festival will be offered at five locations in Big Stone Gap. Masks are required on buses, no exceptions.

Locations include:

• Union High School (formerly Powell Valley High School) — front parking lot

• Curbside, Wood Avenue, in Front of Food City

• Curbside, Municipal Parking Lot behind Post Office/Federal Building

• Country Inn

• Quality Inn

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For more information on the event, visit the Home Craft Days website at