40th Annual Texas Folklife Festival

May 6, 2011 01:24 PM

Archive material

For the latest Texas Folklife Festival information, visit TexasFolklifeFestival.org


 

INSTITUTE OF TEXAN CULTURES PREPARES TO CELEBRATE 40 YEARS OF TEXAS FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL

 
SAN ANTONIO – For 40 years, the Texas Folklife Festival has celebrated the incredible breadth and diversity of the cultures of Texas. Established in 1972, four years after San Antonio’s HemisFair celebration, to the echoes of the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War, the Texas Folklife Festival created a much-needed sense of community, shared values, and pride.
 
This year, June 10 to 12, the Institute of Texan Cultures celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Texas Folklife Festival, distilling the essence of Texas into a three-day celebration of music, dance, costume, crafts, food and diversions from the many unique people who call Texas "home."
 
"The Texas Folklife Festival has made a huge difference over the years," said Jo Ann Andera, festival director since 1981. "There are groups that exist and thrive today because they wanted to participate in the Folklife Festival. Ukrainian, Greek or Lebanese, they are proud of who they are and they are proud to call themselves Texans."
 
The Texas Folklife Festival is the greatest expression of the museum’s mission, serving as a forum for the understanding and appreciating Texas and Texans. It brings the exhibit floor to life in a unique and profound experience.
 
"While museum exhibits can be greatly informative, there’s a spark of life that seems to be missing," said John Davis, interim executive director at the institute. "In a museum about culture and people, the best way to learn is through those who live and preserve these traditions. That’s what we try to do at the Texas Folklife Festival."
 
Texas Folklife Festival founder O. T. Baker once discussed the principles of the festival with a group of English women who were planning their food booth. When he overheard one of the women ask what the Americans might like to eat, Baker stepped in, saying: "It’s about what the English might like to eat." Baker knew that sharing a typical meal and spending time with those who prepared it, visitors learn a little more about that culture.
 
Experiencing the foods includes sampling from some 150 menu items, including Polish pierogi, Wendish noodles, Greek gyros, Filipino lumpia, Indian fry bread, Salvadoran pupusas and more.
Baker’s founding principles carry into other festival experiences, including music and dance, which are always at the heart of any cultural celebration. This year, the festival will feature a variety of performances on six stages.  Music offerings range from gospel, to zydeco, to classic rock ’n’ roll will keep visitors on their feet. Dance performances include Zorya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble; Flemish Folkdancers of the Belgian American Club of Texas, Chilean Folklife, the Jones Korean Dance Group and Ballet Folklorico de San Antonio.
 
Also essential to folkways are trades and crafts. The festival continues to bring a variety of artisans to the museum’s Back 40, for what Baker dubbed "schools." Artisans welcome visitors to try their hand at skills including basket weaving, woodworking, quilting, and whittling
 
"After 40 years, the Texas Folklife Festival has become an essential part of helping preserve the rich and varied cultural history of our state," said Andera.
 
In recognizing the festival’s contribution to Texas heritage, the Institute of Texan Cultures is hosting "40 Years of Texas Folklife Festival Memories," a year-long exhibit exploring the festival’s past four decades. Opening April 30, the exhibit showcases the stories, images, sounds and artifacts highlighting the festival’s most memorable moments. Throughout the year, Texas Folklife Festival participants will bring life to the exhibit through special events, performances and demonstrations.
 
The Texas Folklife Festival is held on the grounds of the Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Durango Blvd., in San Antonio. Festival hours are 5–11 p.m., Friday, June 10; 11 a.m.-11p.m., Saturday, June 11; and noon-7 p.m., Sunday, June 12. Adult admission (age 13 and up) is $10 in advance or $12 at the gate. Child admission (age 6-12) is $5 advance or $5 at the gate. Children 5 and under free. Advance tickets go on sale May 1 at TexanCultures.com, the Institute of Texan Cultures museum store, HEB stores, Ft. Sam Houston, Lackland AFB and Randolph AFB.
For more information, call the festival information line at (210) 458-2390, visit www.texasfolklifefestival.org , or follow Texas Folklife Festival on Facebook.
 
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The Institute of Texan Cultures serves as the forum for the understanding and appreciation of Texas and Texans through research, collections, exhibits, and programs. The museum strives to become the nation’s premier institution of contemporary cultural and ethnic studies focusing on Texans and the diverse cultural communities that make Texas what it is. An agency of the Vice President for Community Services at The University of Texas at San Antonio and a Smithsonian Affiliate, the 182,000 square foot complex, featuring 45,000 square feet of exhibit space and five recreation Texas Frontier period structures, is located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus in downtown San Antonio. Resources for multiple audiences are available at TexanCultures.com.
 
 

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