Thirteen years ago, I participated in the 63rd Annual East Texas Yamboree as a visiting Duchess from White Oak High School. The beautiful young lady pictured, Meredith Cappel, reigned as Princess. The East Texas Yamboree is one of the oldest continuous festivals in Texas was established in 1935, and is held annually during the third weekend of October.

Duchesses are invited to participate in quite a few activities including the Coronation ceremony and they share a float during the Saturday morning parade.

The Coronation ceremony is beautiful and filled with pageantry. You can see for yourself tonight, as the ceremony will take place a the Gilmer Civic Center tonight at 7:30 p.m.

According to the festival's website, the Yamboree was originally planned to be in conjunction with the Texas Centennial Celebration. The name Yamboree was used because the yam (sweet potato) had been a major cash crop in the area during the 1930's. Yam growers had been under a quarantine because of a weevil infestation but by 1935 the ban was lifted and yams were once again being shipped.

There is a lot to see and do this weekend in Gilmer during the festival. Whether you want to take the kids the carnival, have in interest in livestock or just love yams - you'll find something interesting at the Yamboree.