Texas Folklore Fans Gather in Tyler


The annual gathering of the Texas Folklore Society always includes a Friday night “hootenanny.” Tyler hosts this year’s event, April 21-23.

Courtesy Photo

Even though the word “folklore” rarely enters into conversations these days, Ken Untiedt of Nacogdoches says it’s still a vibrant part of people’s everyday lives.

As secretary-editor of the Texas Folklore Society (TFS), he’s glad to explain. 

“Folklore is information that is passed on by word of mouth from one generation to another,” he says, adding that it runs the gamut from stories of our ancestors’ involvement in cattle drives, railroad expansions or chicken-raising to tales of traveling or simply sharing the ingredients for a special home-cooked meal.

East Texans can explore the world of folklore in person at the 101st annual Texas Folklore Society meeting April 21 to 23 at Holiday Inn Tyler-South Broadway. 

The event features a Friday night “hootenanny” and a Saturday night banquet with musical entertainment by The Purple Hulls of Kilgore. During the day, members read papers on a variety of folklore subjects. This is the organization’s first annual meeting in Tyler and participants will tour the Tyler Rose Garden and Museum. 

Interesting topics for this year’s papers include “Tummies and Tanks: Filling Up at Texas Gas Stations,” “Games We Never Should Have Played,” “Shhhh—It’s a Secret: The Lore of Texas Freemasonry” and “Texas-Sized Pranks.” 

Founded in 1909, TFS is the oldest state folklore organization still functioning in the United States and the third oldest academic organization in Texas. In the 1920s and ‘30s, the group earned some attention through its leadership by celebrated Texas author J. Frank Dobie. 

Based at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TFS has 350 members today. Attendance cost for the Tyler event is $25 and hotel accommodations are $104 per night. Learn more at texasfolkloresociety.org. 

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