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International Rice Festival in Crowley, Louisiana

Submitted by on August 30, 2022 – 10:23 amNo Comment

International Rice Festival, Crowley, Louisiana: 2022The 85th International Rice Festival will be held October 20 through 23, 2022, in Crowley, Louisiana.

Eating rice is not the focus of this agricultural festival, but there’s a Rice & Creole Cookery Contest during the event. It starts at 8 a.m. October 21, 2022, at 157 Par Rd 6-53 in Crowley.

Another foodie aspect takes place weeks before the festival. At 11 a.m. September 17, 2020, there’s a Rice & Gravy Cookoff in Crowley.

Creole rice

There’s a full entertainment lineup on two sound stages all three days. There’s a Children’s Parade (with rice-bedecked floats) stepping off at 1:30 p.m. October 21. The Grand Parade starts at 3 p.m. October 22, and includes Mardi Gras beads (well, it is Louisiana).

Other events at the celebration include a car show, fiddle and accordion contest, and a blood drive. The 2022 International Rice Festival Queen’s Ball & Honoree Social presages the festival, taking place October 8.

History of the Rice Festival

The International Rice Festival describes the first event, in 1937, this way:
One day in Baton Rouge Governor Richard Leche was standing by watching as a number of photographs were being taken to publicize Louisiana products. At the time, a young lady in a rice costume was posing for the cameras. According to the Golden Jubilee Edition of the Crowley Signal in October of 1937, Governor Leche suddenly jumped up and said, “Let’s have a Rice Festival!” Gaining enthusiasm with each passing minute, Leche contacted Commissioner of Agriculture Harry D. Wilson and Representative Smith Hoffpauir.

Hoffpauir advised the Governor that Crowley was scheduled to Celebrate its Golden Jubilee October 5, 1937, and that if the two celebrations could be combined, the people of Crowley and Acadia Parish would without a doubt approve of the plan.

Crowley citizens did accept the Rice Festival idea with considerable excitement, and Leche set his entire publicity staff to work building up the event. Stories about the coming festival were sent to newspapers all over the nation. Newsreel and cameramen photographed rice field scenes, which were shown at movies prior to the festival. Newspapers from Louisiana and Texas announced plans to send representatives to cover the event, and arrangements were made for two to four hours of radio coverage.

With the course plotted, the great chore of handling the specific plans and details were undertaken by R.E. “Bob” Schlicher and Justin Wilson. The festival history continues, it was later said of the two men that their enthusiasm and dedication was infectious and their untiring devotion to planning and preparing was to a large extent responsible for the festival’s tremendous success.

The day finally arrived, and Parkerson Avenue, its lampposts decorated with stalks of rice, prepared to receive the very First Rice Festival. A crowd of nearly 35,000 enthusiastic merry-makers were on hand.

Here’s last year’s International Rice Festival poster:

2022 Poster for International Rice Festival, Crowley, Louisiana

(Photos courtesy of International Rice Festival)

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