There’s a legendary story they’ll tell you in the English department of a certain university in Austin—the one with the tower—about a legendary Texas figure, the one and only J. Frank Dobie.
Supposedly Dobie, who was a member of that department in the late 1910s, wanted to teach a course to be called “Literature of the Southwest.” But the department chair informed him, somewhat snootily, that the southwest “doesn’t have any literature.”
Dobie, who would go on to create a library of southwest literature on his own, simply changed the course’s name to “Life of the Southwest” and proceeded. “You can’t tell me the southwest doesn’t have any life,” he justified.
Tejas Fest, which will unreel this weekend in Rockdale, is certainly about literature. And art and drama and cars and music and food and trains.
In other words, life. Tejas Fest has celebrated the life of Rockdale, of Texas and the southwest for the past five years and the 2012 observance will be the largest one yet.
There are some big names on tap. Best-selling authors will include Fred Burton, whose real-life espionage thriller “Chasing Shadows” has become a best seller. Burton will speak at the city library at 10 a.m. Saturday.
J. Parker Lamb will appear at the I&GN Depot-Museum at 2 p.m. He’s one of the most famous train photographers and authors alive. It’s an interest he’s pursued for over 60 years, since he was a teenager in the 1940s.
There’s a three-day art workshop, a car and motorcycle show, an evening of live theatre, food, crafts and much more. You can read about them all throughout this paper and in a special supplement.
The volunteers who make it all possible have worked hard for most of a year on the 2012 events.
So, come out and enjoy. Tejas Fest is just like Texas. It’s all about life!—M.B.