Monday, October 16, 2017

UTSA celebrates heritage, tradition at Texas Folklife Festival

Annual event at UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures reminds Texans who they are, where they came from

The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures hosts the 46th annual Texas Folklife Festival June 9-11.

Annual event at UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures reminds Texans who they are, where they came from

Festival goers will enjoy music and dance on five stages.

Annual event at UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures reminds Texans who they are, where they came from

Children can experiment with ranch tools.


(June 1, 2017) -- Every summer for the past 46 years, Texans have gathered to celebrate who they are and to continue expressing their traditions. Texas music, heritage, food and tradition are the driving elements behind one of the most revered cultural events in the state, the Texas Folklife Festival. It takes place Friday June 9 through Sunday, June 11 at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, located at the UTSA Hemisfair Campus, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd. in downtown San Antonio.

>> Purchase tickets to the 46th annual Texas Folklife Festival.

The event gathers some 170 participating groups and individuals that represent nearly 40 cultures that call Texas home. Six stages host music, dance and entertainment. Forty skilled artisans display and teach a variety of crafts, and cooks prepare a menu of some 150 authentic foods.

"We see and hear a lot of questions in the news around us, of what this country is, what it stands for and who belongs here," said festival director Jo Ann Andera, whose family hails from Lebanon. "A day at the Texas Folklife Festival can be uplifting and inspiring for those still questioning if there's a place for them in America and in Texas. It can open eyes and open minds that every culture brings something unique to our nation and state, and that difference is worth celebrating."

The Texas Folklife Festival was conceived after a Texas contingent returned from the Smithsonian Institution's American Folklife Festival, and modeling itself after that venerable event, the Texas Folklife Festival aimed to showcase the many cultures of Texas and aspects of their unique lifeways.

As a program of the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, the festival builds on the museum's mission of preserving and presenting on the cultures of Texas. That mission has become more challenging with the passage of time, as skilled artisans and ethnic community leaders have passed away.

"They are some of our state's treasures," said Andera. "It's so difficult to find someone who knows the old Irish folk songs, or who can weave bobbin lace, or has a recipe for hoe cakes. We are renewing our efforts to locate these communities and artisans and welcome them to the festival, to continue to be the platform for sharing our Texan Cultures. We came from all over the globe. We found ways to make a living and get along with each other. We've built something special and it's something we need to celebrate. Folklife is about all of us."

Festival hours:

  • June 9 - 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • June 10 - 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • June 11 - 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For more on the Texas Folklife Festival, visit TexasFolklifeFestival.org.

- James Benavides

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