As Autumn makes it’s presence known in East Texas, its reminding those in Gilmer that it’s time to embrace home. 
 
For nearly 80 years The East Texas Yamboree has been held in Upshur County. And while the outward appearance of carnival rides, parades, and a live stock show may seem like every other festival in the state, it’s history proves otherwise. 
 
The yamboree was created back in 1935, in honored of the return of sweet potatoes, also known as yams. 
 
The crop was an important staple to East Texas, but due to a large infestation of weevil in the early 1930s, there was a hold placed on the sell of sweet potatoes. 
 
This brought about a dip in the economy. 
 
But, after several years the ban was lifting. 
 
To celebrate this the region decided to hold a festival in Upshur County, celebrating sweet potatoes.  
 
To raise money for this, high school girls spend the summer of their Junior year selling tickets to the festival. The person who sells the most tickets is named “Yamboree Queen.” 
 
The Yamboree is the second longest running festival in the state. Those who’ve seen it grow throughout the years say it’s due to the outpouring support of volunteers in the community. 
 
A true staple of the East Texas way.