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East Texas Yamboree returns after COVID-19 forces cancelation last year

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 6:52 PM CDT
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GILMER, Texas (KLTV) - With all the festivals happening all of over East Texas this weekend, one of the biggest is the East Texas Yamboree in Gilmer. After being canceled last year due to COVID-19, the 84th annual Yamboree is back in full force.

The City of Gilmer loves parades so much that they have two parades in honor of the East Texas Yamboree. So, named after the guys.

“Sweet potatoes and yams. Sweet potatoes and yams are the same thing. Just like hey, you leave now and go into that building, it’s a sweet potato when you come out of there it is a yam.” said Yam vendor Jerome Hunter.

It all started some 84 years ago in the 1930′s.

“We had an infestation of Bo Weevils and our yam crop was no good. So in 1935, it was lifted and we had a celebration and ever since we have been using the yams as a symbol of our festival,” said executive director of the East Texas Yamboree Association Amorette Burch.

The festival kicked of Wednesday and goes on until Saturday night. It has all of the things you expect to see at a fall fest. A midway and food.

A few miles down the road on 271 is the East Texas Yamboree Grounds. There you will find craft vendors, art contests, and naturally the Yamboree pie contest.

“They bring their pies in today and they judged here in a few minutes by 3 o’clock we will announce the winners,” said pie volunteer Joan Warren.

Warren left with a surprise fact about the Yamboree.

“And I am the same age as the Yamboree if you want to know. 84,” Warren said.

The fun kicks off again at 11 a.m. with the queens parade with activities all day and then caps off with a barn dance and music at the Yamboree grounds.

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