Crowley readies for 76th International Rice Festival
As the weather begins to cool off, the carnival rides began to line up Front St., crews begin to arrive in town to put up the stages and vending booths this week. It is a scene that the people of Crowley have become accustomed to for over seven decades.
Beginning Thursday night at 6 p.m. when Kira Viator and the Bayou Beats take the Cajun Country Rice Stage (main stage) the streets of downtown Crowley will be filled with festival goers as the 76th version of the International Rice Festival get’s underway. Some have described it as a party that slowly builds up and climaxes Saturday night when Parkerson Ave., south of the Acadia Parish Courthouse, is so full of people that if one were to stand on one of the top floors and take a picture (and many have) it appears as thought there are people as far as the eyes can see.
This year’s festival will require a great deal of work and preparation to top last year’s 75th edition of the festival when Governor Edwin Edwards, a native of Crowley returned to the streets of the town where he began his political career. He and his new bride Trina were welcomed home with open arms and the ‘Cajun Prince’ once again ruled the streets of Crowley as the Rice Festival Parade’s Grand Marshal. And the feeling seemed to be mutual as he seemed to be right at home shaking hands and taking pictures with thousands of admirers.
However, if there’s a group of people who are capable of putting on a grand display, it’s the team of people who work year round out of the headquarters they share with State Representative Jack Montoucet on the corner of Hutchinson Ave. and Avenue G. And once again Festival Chairmen Gene Williams (who is also serving as Grand Marshal) and Jay Suire, this year’s Festival President and Gene’s son Brady Williams, Festival Coordinator Roxie Viator, President-elect Romona Credeur, Secretary/Treasurer Blane Faulk, Festival Vice President Connie Nutt and over a hundred volunteers have been hard at work putting together a festival that takes nearly an entire year to put together. Musical acts such as Geno Delafosse, Wayne Toups, The Mollie Ringwalds, Jamie Bergeron and country star Sammy Kershaw headline the musical acts. There will be several other events such as the Accordion and Fiddle Contest, a Poker Run, a 5K race, an arts and crafts show and, of course, the crowning of the 76th International Rice Festival Queen on Saturday morning by last year’s Queen Macy LeBlanc.
So brace yourselves once again citizens of Crowley. The party begins Thursday and doesn’t end until midnight Saturday night. The sounds of music will fill the air as will the smell of a variety of Louisiana delicacies. It’s once again time to show the people around the state and the country how to have a wild, yet safe and family oriented party.
It shouldn’t be a problem, however. You’ve done it 75 times before.