Oct 17, 2013 8:24 AM by Kristen Holloway
The Rice Festival has come a long way in 77 years with exciting changes while also keeping some traditions. Take a look at how it continues to grow and for the past three years win festival of the year.
Food, music, parades and a carnival, The International Rice Festival is finally here.
Co-chairman Gene Williams says the festival now in its 77th year has changed a lot since it started.
There are more stages, entertainment is better and the crowds are bigger but somethings will always be tradition.
"We ride the same route, it's always held downtown and it will always remain free, that is a big deal for us," said Williams.
Organizers spent more than $80,000 to bring in the best bands including Southern University Marching Band.
The Human Jukebox plays in concert Saturday and shortly after at the parade. A university band hasn't played during the festival in 50 years.
"Everybody is so excited, that is one of the main attractions right now. What we're hoping for is that he's going to bring the crowd and they stay with the other entertainment we have," said Williams.
The music is only one aspect of this fun-filled event, there's also the highly anticipated pageant where 12 ladies will compete to become the next International Rice Festival Queen.
"Being the queen has taught me the importance of being a role model. These farmers work so hard all year and it really is an honor for me to represent them and be their queen," said Queen Sarah Mouhton.
The Rice Festival is one of the best and they have three Festival of the Year Awards to prove it.
"That's what we work for all year, we try to be the best and when we win that award it proves to everybody we are," said Williams.