Folklore is the traditional knowledge of a culture passed down through stories, customs, superstitions, folk art and music, family legends, and oral histories. The Texas Folklore Society, based on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus, will continue its tradition of celebrating these stories during its 101st annual meeting Friday through Sunday, April 21-23, at the Holiday Inn-South Broadway, located at 5701 S. Broadway Ave. in Tyler.
The event is open to the public.
“The purpose of the meeting is to share papers on the many various topics of folklore,” said Dr. Kenneth Untiedt, professor of English at SFA and the society’s secretary-editor. “We also enjoy playing music, telling tall tales, reciting cowboy poetry and having fellowship during the banquet where we’re entertained by a great band.”
The meeting will kick off with a hootenanny, or “the Hoot” as it’s dubbed by TFS members, at 8 p.m. Friday. This event will include storytelling and folk music. Participants also will be able to tour the Tyler Rose Museum and Tyler Municipal Rose Garden Friday afternoon.
Twenty papers will be presented throughout Saturday and Sunday covering a wide range of topics, including cattle drive memories, Texas freemasonry, prison music programs, Buffalo Soldiers, family reunions, acoustic music festivals and dangerous childhood games of the past, among others.
A banquet will be held Saturday evening with entertainment provided by The Purple Hulls of Kilgore playing a mix of country and western and folk music.
Originally named the Texas Folk-Lore Society before eventually dropping the hyphen, the TFS began in 1909 by way of a resolution presented during a meeting of the Texas State Teachers Association, according to the Texas State Historical Association website. Sixty-six members were enrolled that first day.
The society maintained an office and archives in Austin until the late Dr. Francis Edward Abernethy, former SFA professor of literature, became the secretary-editor in 1971. The TFS was relocated to SFA that year.
“We proudly tell everyone how much SFA supports the TFS, and I think that we also are a feather in SFA’s cap,” Untiedt said. “We’re the third-oldest academic organization in the state, and we’ve produced more folklore scholarship (in a regular full-length book series) than any other folklore organization in the country. I believe we support one another quite well.”
Today, membership totals approximately 350 worldwide.
“We’re technically a regional organization, as our mission statement says we collect, preserve and present the folklore of Texas and the Southwest,” Untiedt said. “However, we have members throughout Texas, as well as in many other states — and even a member in England.”
Registration for the annual meeting is $25. Banquet tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for children. To receive a discounted group rate, reservations need to be made with the hotel as soon as possible.
For more information, visit www.texasfolkloresociety.org, or call the main office at (936) 468-4407.