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The East Texas Yamboree, a four-day event held annually during the third weekend of October in Gilmer, Texas, celebrates the sweet potato (called a "yam" in the United States) as a former cash crop, drawing thousands of tourists to the city for the occasion each year. The event has been held in Gilmer since 1935.[1][2] Festivities at the event include the Queen's Coronation Pageant, a carnival held around the town square, two parades--the first being the school parade with floats built by the different Upshur County Schools and different East Texas marching school bands. There is a marching contest for the high school bands on Friday. School floats are also judged, and the floats that earn first, second and third places are in the Queen's Parade, which takes place on Saturday. Other activities include a barn dance and livestock shows for the area FFA participants. Gilmer, Texas is the County seat of Upshur County and during this one week, the population of Gilmer grows in size from 5,000 to over 100,000 people. There have only been two times that they have not held the East Texas Yamboree and that was during wartime during World War II and recently when the COVID-19 pandemic started.[citation needed]


To celebrate the Texas Centennial, counties around the state were tasked with having festivals. It was decided that Upshur County would celebrate the yam, once again thriving due to the recent lifting of a quarantine on the former cash crop. The quarantine had been put in place in the late 1920s, as the result of a weevil infestation.[3] The festival proved to be so popular that the committee decided it would take place yearly from then on. It was temporarily suspended in 1941 due to World War II, and resumed in 1945; besides 2020 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, resuming in 2021.[4]

Past Yam Queens and Presidents [5][edit]

Year President Queen
1935 R. C. Barnwell Jane Tuttle
1936 J. R. Penn Marjorie Coe
1937 W. C. Barnwell Ruth Hogg
1938 V. E. Todd Ernestine Dedman
1939 Fred Arnold Bobby Jean Warren
1940 Clarine Smith
1941 Genice Graves
1942 Betty Ann Quiz
1946 John Brogoitti Ann Wilkinson
1947 B. D. Futrell Nell Brison
1948 Royce Hogg Barbara King
1949 Ralph Michael Angela Hogg
1950 Don Williams Lena Margaret Harper
1951 Robert E. Parsons Joyce Isbell
1952 Wessel Wilson Linda Carroll
1953 Looney E. Lindsey Diane Dupree
1954 F. L. Garrison Carol Cox
1955 B. L Hogg Mary Lou Ragland
1956 Bill Stevenson Anna Beth Jones
1957 Mason Reardon Sue Sorrells
1958 Leon Presnell Mary Laschinger
1959 Melvin M. Cross Ann Buie
1960 James Croley Margaret Ingram
1961 Gordon Finney Patricia Aldredge
1962 Richard Potter Kay Floyd
1963 Tom Davis Cathy Kurtz
1964 Harlan Thacker Karen Clark
1965 C. E. Elwell Linda Garrison
1966 Phil Wood Donna Williams
1967 Harvey Arnold Nancy Williams
1968 Dr. Bob Glaze Mary Jo Proctor
1969 Kenneth White Lana Sisson
1970 Dewitt Alexander Laine Potter
1971 Fred Odom Cindy Clark
1972 Steve Dean Laura Potter
1973 Bill Beisch Donna Stracener
1974 Frank Breazeale Mary Jane Ford
1975 Byron Spencer Stephanie Mayfield
1976 Bill Patterson Phebe Phillips
1977 Don Smith Ellizabeth Ann Patterson
1978 Robert Stracener Susan Stracener
1979 Bill Taylor Ann & Nan Poole
1980 Steve Williams Pam Yocom
1981 Jack Baird Kim Listenbee
1982 Larry Henson Darrellene Wilson
1983 Cranfill Cox, Jr/Larry Henson Peggy Lawler
1984 Dr. Andy Glaze Teri Smith
1985 Paul David Williams Fran Traywick
1986 Dr. Randy McDaniel Victoria Mitchell
1987 Elliott Dean Amy Dean
1988 Pete Herrmann Kay White
1989 Tedd Austin Jennifer Bishop
1990 George Dodd Christi Seahorn
1991 Gary Patterson Mary Jane Dean
1992 Dr Jerald Walton Tracy Diane Williams
1993 Kelly Cox White Anna McDaniel
1994 Steve Stewart Sarah Lenora Dean
1995 David McQueen Natalie Young
1996 A. L. Payne Lesley Erin Glaze
1997 Randy Hill Abigail Elaine Stewart
1998 Larry Cowan Hayley Carol Smithhart
1999 Nat Harrison Elizabeth Anne Daniels
2000 Dr. Dean Bums Summer Layne Weisinger
2001 Joe Lynn Tillery Adrienne Lee Lindsey
2002 W. Dennis Despain Nancy Marie Warden
2003 F. Wayne Skinner Courtney De-An Bums
2004 Brian Williams Ann-Marie Despain
2005 Dr. David Buller Katie Elizabeth Mannis
2006 Phil Fowler Mary Carol Despain
2007 Jeff Dodd Leslie Taylor McQueen
2008 Michael Leon Melton Stephanie Lynn Henson
2009 Dr. Steve Murry Lindsey Renee' Donaho
2010 Judge Dean Fowler Kaitlyn Blair Tackett
2011 Randy Hill Drew Danielle Henson-Hill
2012 Richard (Ricky) Holloway Mary Paige Linder
2013 Ray Culberson Karlie Carol White
2014 Randy Duke Alexis Marie Williams
2015 Edward Williams Jayce Savanna Finch-Henson
2016 Shayne Wilson Riley Mackayla Meritt
2017 Brandon Garmon Madison Lee Dean
2018 Troy Murray Brinkley Grace Rash
2019 Michael Blanks Audrey Scott Nolan
2020 Kyle Bowden Carleigh Judd
2021 Rucker Joel Murry Hannah Jean Henson
2022 Jordan Glaze Caroline Michelle Dean
2023 Abigail Elaine Stewart Addison Jayne Young
2024 TBD

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sewell, Ernestine P. (1989). Eats: A Folk History of Texas Foods. TCU Press. p. 169. ISBN 9780875650357. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  2. ^ "Families celebrate 74th East Texas Yamboree in Gilmer - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports".
  3. ^ Laschinger Kirby, Mary (2009). Gilmer. Arcadia Publishing. p. 68. ISBN 9780738571249. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Gilmer, Tex., Warms Up for Harvest at Yamboree Revival". The Billboard. 27 July 1946. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  5. ^ 2019 East Texas Yamboree Catalogue

External links[edit]