I moved around a lot as a kid, and one of the placed I lived for a couple of years was Gilmer, Texas. I have lots of great memories of my junior high years as a Gilmer Buckeye. My favorite thing of all was the annual East Texas Yamboree. I loved seeing the Yamboree Queen and her court waving in the parade!
The Yamboree is one of the largest festivals in Texas. I’ve wanted to return for more than 30 year and this year I we got to go and take the kids! We stayed in Mt. Pleasant because all the hotels and Bed and Breakfasts near Gilmer were full. (Book early, ya’ll!) We had a great time riding a few rides, eating fair food and poking around the fairgrounds with the pigs and cows. The best thing we did was attend the local high school football game.
Rural Texas knows how to do high school football, people. The halftime show at the game was terrific. The Buckeye band with its great sound, drill team and majorettes was a real treat for my city kids. Plus, the visiting team, the Canton Eagles Band, also performed during halftime. I don’t know if that’s a tradition, but I thought it was so gracious. The hometown crowd clapped so loud for this band, it’s hard to believe they were football rivals. Plus, the Canton flag girls were awesome. Their routine was like nothing I’ve ever seen. Also, a little plug for the awesome Buckeye majorettes. They did a three-baton routine that was great.
The Yamboree parade was also a big highlight of our short trip. Wow! The floats were so elaborate. They were better than any float I’ve ever seen in an Oklahoma City parade and I’ve been to them all. They were really something to behold.
Perhaps the best thing of all were the people. East Texas is home to a lot of nice folk. Everywhere we went, people were so friendly and kind. In recent years, I’ve been able to reconnect with a few friends from back in the late 1970s when I was a Buckeye. They mean so much to me and I treasure my memories of them and that time. We were just a bunch of kids running around the town square riding rides and acting a fool.
I am so glad my kids got to experience the Yamboree. We are definitely going back next year! The East Texas Yamboree is Texas at its finest.