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. The event has been held in Gilmer since 1935. Festivities at the event include the Queen’s Coronation and Pageant, a carnival, two parades, a barn dance, livestock shows and a marching contest.
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. 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.