Searching for weekend plans in San Antonio, TX? Head over to the Institute of Texan Cultures on the UTSA Hemisfair Campus for the 46th Annual Texas Folklife Festival. From June 9-11, this three-day event showcases the Lone Star State’s diversity and rich heritage through a wide variety of ethnic food, music, dance, arts, and crafts. Typically, the event gathers some 170 participating groups and individuals that represent nearly 40 cultures that call Texas home.
According to the Festival’s official website, “The Texas Folklife Festival was modeled after the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival, which was held in Washington, D.C. in 1968. On behalf of the Institute of Texan Cultures (which was built as part of the Texan Pavilion for the 1968 World’s Fair), O.T. Baker attended the first Smithsonian Folklife Festival and returned home with big plans—to replicate the event in San Antonio. And the wheels were set in motion.”
“The first Texas Folklife Festival was held from September 7-10, 1972, on the grounds of the institute at Hemisfair. O.T. Baker (1910-2006), the Festival’s founder and director from 1972-75, was a dedicated and inspirational leader in constructing this phenomenal event that has received countless international, regional and local awards.”
As a program of the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, the festival helps to build on the museum’s mission of preserving and presenting on the cultures of Texas. Unfortunately, that mission has become more challenging with the passage of time, as skilled artisans and ethnic community leaders have passed away.
Texas Folklife Festival: Entertainment
The Texas Folklife Festival’s 6 stages, located throughout the grounds, feature all types of ethnic and cultural entertainment. Be on the lookout for roving performers on the grounds. There is music each day, starting at 6pm on Friday, 11:30am on Saturday, and 12:30pm on Sunday.
There are a variety of different performers, so to see a full line-up that includes dates, times, locations, and names of specific entertainers, visit the Texas Folklife Festival Schedule.
Food & Drinks
A huge aspect of the Texas Folklife Festival is the abundance of genuine Texas cuisine to taste test around the festival grounds. It’s important to keep in mind that food and drinks are sold by coupon and Festival coins only. Coupons and coins may be purchased for $1.00 each at booths located throughout the grounds. Purchase of coupons and coins with Visa, MasterCard or Discover is available at all booths, and craft vendors do not except coupons.
On Flagpole Street, visitors can try Pierogis, Belgian Sausage and Waffles, Au Vin Blanc Mussels, Roasted Corn, Tacos, Sausage on a Stick, German Schnitzels, and much, much more. The South Patio offers hotdogs, hamburgers, Fish and Chips, Shepherd’s Pie, Kettle Corn, and fresh lemonade, while the East Patio will be serving Gyros, Sweet and Sour Chicken on a Stick, Fried Rice, Egg Rolls, Crapes, Shaved Ice, and Kabobs. The North Patio is led by the Texas Wendish Heritage Society, and offers Wendish meals, BBQ chicken, and more. Finally, in the Back 40, you’ll find Vietnamese food and Pho, Fajitas, Turkish cuisine, soul food, and a variety of margaritas.
For a full menu, go to Texas Folklife Festival Menu.
Tickets & Additional Information
This year’s festival runs Friday 5pm–11pm, Saturday 11am–11pm, and Sunday 12pm–7pm. Single Day General Admission adult tickets are $12 with advanced purchase or $15 at the gate, while children’s tickets are $5, and children under the age of 5 are free. There are also Group Admission tickets available for purchase.
To view all the ticket options or to purchase your tickets, check out Texas Folklife Festival Tickets.
For more information, visit the Texas Folklife Festival.