City of Gilmer cancels 83rd Yamboree, fireworks show due to COVID-19 concerns

City of Gilmer cancels 83rd Yamboree, fireworks show due to COVID-19 concerns
The 83 East Texas Yamboree has been cancelled because of concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus. (Source: East Texas Yamboree Association Facebook page)

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Because of concerns about public safety, the City of Gilmer and the Upshur County COVID-19 Committee have decided to cancel the 83rd Annual East Texas Yamboree.

“It is with our greatest regret, that we inform you the Yamboree Firework Show and the 83rd East Texas Yamboree have been canceled for 2020,” stated a post on the East Texas Yamboree Association’s Facebook page. “This decision comes after much deliberation from The City of Gilmer and Upshur County COVID-19 Committee. Public safety is everyone’s foremost concern.”

The post wished everyone a safe and healthy Fourth of July celebration and said that the event’s organizers are looking forward to planning the 84th East Texas Jamboree, which will be held in 2021.

According to the Yamboree Association’s Facebook page, the East Texas Yamboree is a four-day event held each year during the third weekend of October.

“The East Texas Yamboree celebrates the sweet potato, also known as the yam,” the Facebook page’s About section states. “The event has been held in Gilmer since 1935, and is one of the longest-held festivals in all of Texas.”

The festival brings thousands of tourists to Gilmer each year. The festivities usually include the Queen’s Coronation and Pageant, a carnival, two parades, a barn dance, livestock shows, a sweet potato pie contest, a yam decorating contest, a marching band contest, and more, according to the East Texas Yamboree Association’s Facebook page.

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