(June 7, 2011)--For 40 years, the Texas Folklife Festival has celebrated the incredible breadth and diversity of the cultures of Texas. This year's festival is June 10-12 at the Institute of Texan Cultures in downtown San Antonio.
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. On the festival's 40th anniversary, it continues the legacy of 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 festival. Ukrainian, Greek or Lebanese, they are proud of who they are and they are proud to call themselves Texans."
TFF 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."
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 will include the Zorya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Flemish Folkdancers of the Belgian American Club of Texas, Chilean Folklife, 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.
In recognizing the festival's contribution to Texas heritage, the Institute of Texan Cultures now is hosting the yearlong exhibit "40 Years of Texas Folklife Festival Memories." The exhibit showcases the stories, images, sounds and artifacts highlighting the festival's most memorable moments. Throughout the year, Texas Folklife Festival participants will host special events, performances and demonstrations.
The Texas Folklife Festival is on the grounds of the Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Durango Blvd., in downtown San Antonio. Festival hours are 5-11 p.m., Friday, June 10; 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday, June 11; and noon-7 p.m., Sunday, June 12. Adult admission (age 13 and up) is $10 in advance, $12 at the gate. Child admission (age 6-12) is $5 advance, $5 at the gate. Children age 5 and under are admitted free. Advance tickets are available at TexanCultures.com, Institute of Texan Cultures museum store, H-E-B stores, Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base and Randolph Air Force Base.
For more information, visit the Texas Folklife Festival website, call 210-458-2390 or follow Texas Folklife Festival on Facebook.
A Smithsonian affiliate, the Institute of Texan Cultures is on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus in downtown San Antonio. The institute is the forum for the understanding and appreciation of Texas and Texans through research, collections, exhibits and programs and 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 UTSA Office of the Vice President for Community Services, the 182,000-square-foot complex features 45,000 square feet of exhibit space and five recreated Texas frontier period structures.
The UTSA Consortium for Social Transformation; African American Studies Program presents guest speaker Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies, and African American Studies, University of California at Los Angelesand author of "Spaces of Conflict Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spacial Entitlement in Los Angeles" and "Futures of Black Radicalism." The event is free and open to the public.
University Center, Denman Room (UC 2.01.28), Main Campus
Put on drunk goggles and navigate a pedal cart at the U in the Driver Seat Alcohol Awareness event, hosted by UTSA PD and Sigma Lambda Gamma.
Sombrilla Plaza, Main Campus
The UTSA Honors College hosts a sneak CineFestival preview of the documentary Somos Lengua, a new documentary about the Mexican hip hop scene. Jim Mendiola, the CineFestival Director, will screen the movie and present a festival overview.
University Center, Bexar Room (UC 1.102), Main Campus
Grab your friends, family, kids and dog for this annual fun run on the UTSA Main Campus benefititng the UTSA Alumni Association.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
Join the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching for the 13th annual Storytelling Festival. The festival will feature keynote speaker Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, a Colombian Storyteller and journalist. This event is free and open to the public.
Main Building, ground floor, Main Campus
The IDS Colloquium showcases the excellent scholarship done by the IDS students in the College of Education and Human Development at UTSA. In addition, this event also honors the legacy of Dr. Marian Martinello.
Business Building, University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
The Department of Biology and the Be the Match Team will collaborate to engage and educate our students in the importance of a life saving donation through peripheral blood stem cells and a marrow harvest.
UC Paseo and Central Plaza, Main Campus
UTSA welcomes the Italian-born duo Bandini-Chiacchiaretta. They've toured the world performing Argentine Tango music on guitar and bandoneon, the instrument of Astor Piazzolla. Tickets are $10 or free with UTSA Student I.D.
Arts Building, Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
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