No matter where you’re from, you’ll feel at home at the annual Viola Valley Homecoming. The event has been held in the sleepy town of Viola since 1986, and welcomes thousands to the two-day event.
The small town is nestled on the banks of Hickory Creek near the Grundy/Coffee County lines. It first received its charter in the spring of 1901, but its history dates back to the late 18th century, when settlers crossed over from North Car-olina and began populating the valley. Today, Viola has a population of less than 200, with much of the rich fertile land used for farming.
Visitors enjoyed a mule show on Friday, as well as the popular “On the Road Again Show” featuring locals impersonating various entertainers. Approxi-mately 20 acts entertained the crowded stands.
Also on Friday, the annual tractor pull was held, with sanctioned classes featuring hot rod tractors, light and super stock trucks, pro stock trucks and assorted tractors. Non-sanction classes also provided entertainment with several truck and tractor classes. The event is sponsored by the Mid Tennessee Pullers Association.
Saturday was parade day, with many antique and new vehicles taking to the streets for the showing. Mule-drawn wagons, four wheelers, horses and a few floats drew the attention of the crowds lining both sides of the street through Viola. New to the line-up this year was the General Coffee Button Club float. The Warren County High School marching band provided festive music adding to the excitement of the day.
This year’s homecoming activities were held in honor of longtime residents, the late Bob and Ida Ramsey. Their children, Bob, Betty and Bill served as grand marshals for the parade.
Local resident, Frankie Winton, especially enjoyed the parade and the excitement surrounding the homecoming. The 106-year-old viewed the parade from the car with her daughter, Joyce Winton Alverson, who resides in Georgia.
Alverson has many wonderful memories of growing up in Viola, with her two sisters.
“It was great growing up here,” said Alverson. “Even though I live out of state, I still enjoy coming back to visit and to help take care of mother. I went to school in Viola and graduated from McMinnville Central High School.”
Winton still lives in her home in the Wesley Chapel area, with assistance from her daughters and friends. The homemaker still makes delicious biscuits on a weekly basis, and did all her cooking and washing until the age of 103.
When asked what she attributes her long life to, she said, “It’s all because of hard work and a good appetite.
Many stories were told, and memories shared at the homecoming event which is planned for generations to come.