“Chili con Carne and the Words of J. Frank Dobie drew a record crowd on a clear, crisp November evening” recounted Board Chairman Mary Margaret Campbell, and there’s no better way to describe this year’s Dobie Dichos than that.
Held in Oakville on Friday, Nov. 5, the 11th annual Dobie Dichos attracted crowds from all over Texas, and beyond, to the historic ground of the old Oakville jail, to listen to invited Texas writers and storytellers to read and debate the works of “Live Oak County’s most infamous son” -- J. Frank Dobie.
This year’s seven participants, as always, recognized the impact of Dobie’s works and contributions in not only storytelling -- but also his contributions to the area’s folklore and literature scenes.
After guests enjoyed a wonderful chili dinner and the musical talents of Mike Blakely, the main event kicked off with Micaela Chapa Mendez, board member of the Dobie West Performing Arts Theatre in George West and a storyteller with Live Oak County roots. Mendez performed “Corrido del Coyote: Finding Tejano Roots in Folklore Oddities” with an excerpt from “Voice of the Coyote”.
Following Mendez was a performance by Bernadette Nason on Austin, described as a “gifted writer, a skilled actress and a superb storyteller” by the Pollyanna Theatre Company. Nason performed “In Winter’s Darkness” from “A Texan in England”.
Ken Roberts, a renowned former Professor of Economics at Southwest University, was next. With a focus on agriculture and economy, this Liberty Hill rancher read an excerpt from his book, “The Cedar Choppers”.
Following Roberts, W.F. Strong performed his own piece “Rattlesnakes” inspired by Dobie’s original work by the same name. Strong a Fulbright scholar and Professor of Communication at the University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley. A natural and celebrated storyteller, Strong is the producer of “Stories From Texas” -- a biweekly segment on Texas Standard Radio, a daily news program produced in Austin and broadcast on 30 NPR stations across the state.
Tim Tingle, an Oklahoma Choctaw and an award-winning author and storyteller with familial roots that trace back to the Trail of Tears, closed out the storytelling portion of the event by performing “George West and the Lengthy Longhorns” from Dobie’s “The Longhorns”.
Closing out the evening was a social hour where attendees mingled with this year’s participants and sponsors, all set to the music of Wes Weber.
“The board of directors appreciates the sponsors, volunteers, participants, and guests, all of whom made this year’s event a resounding success,” Campbell said. “In fact, many have said this was “the best Dobie Dichos ever.”
Plans are already underway for the 12th annual event, scheduled for the first Friday in November 2022.