THE POST-SIGNAL / Kathy Duncan
AnnaLisa Mariah Meredith, daughter of John Meredith Sr. and Frances Meredith was crowned the 80th International Rice Festival Queen Saturday morning. Meredith was sponsored by the Arkansas Rice Festival.
80th International Rice Festival Queen crowned
Downtown Crowley saw perfect weather and a big crowd on hand Saturday morning for the 80th International Rice Festival Queen’s Pageant.
Crowned as the new queen of the Rice Capital was AnnaLisa Mariah Meredith, daughter of John Meredith Sr. and Frances Meredith of Augusta, Arkansas, who was sponsored by the Arkansas Rice Festival. She was crowned by the 79th International Rice Festival Queen, Camille Quebodeaux, and presented flowers by this year’s Rice Festival Honoree, Charles “Chuck” Abell Jr.
A student at Arkansas State University - Beebe, Meredith is majoring in agricultural business and plans to graduate in 2017. At ASU-Beebe, she has participated in Phi Beta Lambda and served as vice president, been a member of the AgriClub, served as vice president of Collegiate Farm Bureau and been a member of Collegiate FFA.
In her spare time, Meredith volunteers for AETN, Fund a Flag, Meals on Wheels, Keep Calm and Stop Bullying and physical fitness promotion. She is also a board member of the Augusta Days Festival and involved with TailFeathers and the Tamales Festival.
Selected as first runner-up was Jimi Madison Joubert, daughter of John and Kellie Joubert of Opelousas, who was sponsored by A-Cajun Crawfish House and presented flowers by 80th IRF President Elisabeth Leleux.
Second runner-up was Brooklynn Rena Mire of Rayne, the 18-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jackie Prejean and Mr. and Mrs. Jody Mire, who was sponsored by the City of Rayne. She was presented flowers by the 2016 Farmer of the Year Donald A. “Bubba” Leonards.
Gabrielle Ann Guilbeau, the daughter of Clyde and Karen Guilbeau of Lafeyette, was chosen as third runner-up and presented with flowers by this year’s Grand Parade co-Marshals, Jason and Jared Monk. Guilbeau had also been selected as Miss Congeniality and been presented with flowers by Junior Rice Farmer of the Year Jacob Zaunbrecher. She was sponsored by the Louisiana Cattle Festival.
Former Miss Crowley Heather Elise Trahan, sponsored by the Crowley Professional Women’s Club and representing the City of Crowley, was awarded a $500 scholarship based on academic performance.
Mayor Greg Jones and Deborah Nutt Whiting served as emcees for the pageant, and the International Rice Festival Dance Troupe, the “Ricettes,” performed a variety dance numbers to entertain the crowd.
As 79th IRF Queen Quebodeaux addressed the crowd, she thanked all those who had helped her throughout her reign, especially her mother and brother, who had both travelled with her extensively.
As the 80th International Rice Festival Queen, Meredith will travel the state of Louisiana attending fairs and festivals promoting the festival and industry. She will also be presented with cash scholarships and will represent the International Rice Festival at the Washington, D.C., Mardi Gras Ball and the Rice Millers Association Convention being held this year in Carlsbad, California.
Also participating in the pageant were Ali Bourque of Gueydan and Jordan Nikole LeBlanc of Beaumont, Texas.