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A lot of the success of the annual Rice Festival is due to the volunteers. Here, Amber Thibodeaux Hargrave and Marsha Hebert prove their dedication to the festival by staying at their post even when the rains came Saturday night.

82nd Festival a success

Saturday rain ‘slowed crowd a little bit’

The 82nd International Rice Festival is in the books — and it’s listed as another success.
“Everything went well,” Chad Monceaux, general chairman, said Monday morning from the Rice Festival Office. “The rain on Saturday slowed the crowd a little bit — and we had a lot of really good entertainment on the stages at the time — but we’re getting a lot of good feedback.”
Monceaux, Festival Coordinator Shanna Morgan, Co-chairman Josh Spell and other board members were finalizing payments and collections Monday, hoping to wrap up the “business end” of the festival before taking a few well-deserved days off.
“We’re happy with the outcome,” said Monceaux. “It looked like everybody had a good time, and that’s our goal — that and spreading the message of the rice industry and rice farmers as a whole.”
Monceaux and Spell, almost in tandem, expressed appreciation to the festival’s many sponsors and volunteers.
“We couldn’t do it without the sponsors,” said Monceaux. “Obviously, one of our largest expenses is the bands (the festival featured 24 bands this year) and our sponsors are responsible for funding those.
“That’s what helps to keep our festival free — the sponsors and our beer booths. Anyone can walk around the grounds and listen to all the bands and, if they want, never spend a dime,” Monceaux added..
A number of new names were added to the sponsor list this year and Monceaux said “they all seem happy with what we’ve done with the festival.
“We’ve received some good feedback from them and they want to come back next year,” he added.
And no one could say enough about the festival volunteers.
“Our volunteers work really hard for weeks and months leading up to the festival and some are even out today,” said Monceaux.
“Our volunteers are a huge asset to the festival,” Spell agreed. “There’s no way we could put this on without them.”
Both Monceaux and Spell said the Festival Association will be releasing a financial statement in the near future.

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