Texas Folklife Festival Collection

What's Inside this Collection.

Texas Folklife Festival Collection

The University of Texas at San Antonio's Library Special Collections contributed photographs from the Texas Folklife Festival. The Texas Folklife Festival is an annual event sponsored by the University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute of Texan Cultures that celebrates the many ethnicities represented in the state of Texas.

The Texas Folklife Festival grew out of ideas formed in 1968, when the University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures took part in the Smithsonian Institution's National Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. Inspired by the success of the national event, the Institute of Texan Cultures began planning a Texas festival.

Under the leadership of the exhibits director, O. T. Baker, the country's first statewide folklife festival was held September 7-10, 1972, as an extension of the educational programs of the Institute of Texan Cultures. A major thrust was to preserve and display the ethnic traditions and pioneer skills that had helped to form the Lone Star State. Essential initial funding was provided by the Moody Foundation of Galveston, the Houston Endowment, and the Ewing Halsell Foundation of San Antonio. Hundreds of individuals, as well as various fraternal, ethnic, social, religious, professional, commercial, and industrial organizations, provided goods, services, and equipment. The San Antonio Hotel Association and the H. B. Zachry Company, general contractors, provided other essential services.

Claudia Ball took over from O. T. Baker as festival director in 1976 and served in that capacity through 1980. Jo Ann Andera became festival director in 1981 and continued to serve through 2009. By 2009 the festival was a three-day event that showcased the food, music, crafts, and dance of more than forty cultures.