The Origins of the Annual Katy Rice Harvest Festival
Katy rice harvest festival: The annual rice crop has played a significant role in the livelihoods of Katy residents since the late 1890’s, when the first settlers discovered the soil was optimal for it. But it wasn’t until 1978 that Katy locals decided to celebrate the rice harvest. Tri County Optimists of the region were enthusiastic about honoring a part of Katy’s history that was unique, and hosted the first event at the VFW park that October. In the beginning, they named the occasion “Sellabration”. The festival was so popular that it quickly outgrew its initiators, and by 1980, the city took over and renamed it “Katy Rice Harvest Festival”.
What the Katy Rice Harvest Festival Is All About
Rice, of course! Harvest time has traditionally been associated the world over with fun and celebration, and Katy, TX, is no exception. The Katy rice harvest festival provides more than 300 food and craft booths, live music and entertainment, carnival rides, dancing, competitions, shows, and a lot more for its estimated annual 50,000 visitors from all around Texas.
Each year, the Katy rice harvest festival kicks off with a parade through the streets of Katy, with just about every organization, school, club, or group in the city participating. From smartly uniformed brass band players with stomping marching melodies to fantastic costumed dancers whirling in tune, the parade is something everyone looks forward to as the highlight of the fall season. Crazy creative floats provide an outlet for business folk to unleash their imagination, and literally hundreds of hours are spent accumulatively every year by the population of Katy to make the parade a pageant of color!
Of course, in a place like Katy, a parade would be incomplete without the horses, ridden by lucky cowboys and cowgirls, some of whom carry huge American flags in a proud patriotic gesture.
Every school in the town has their own function in the parade, in zany costumes and fun-filled displays of marching and dancing. Every kid has the chance to feel like they belong to the community; their school is a part of that community, and the heritage that they are celebrating is their very own. Hooray for Katy!
One thing is for sure: you’ll be wishing you had more “room” when it comes to sampling all the amazing foods! Katy residents don’t go half-way with the cooking and baking for the festival booths, and visitors have a chance to enjoy home-made foods of every type through-out the two days of celebrating. Traditional hot dog and burger stands, perhaps the last of the year as the season turns into Fall, offer hot, delicious all-American scrumptiousness; then there’s Mexican dishes from burritos to nachos, made-on-location mouth-watering pizzas, and scores of Kettle Korn booths and ice-cream stands, each more delicious than the last.
The bakers really seem to exceed themselves each year with cakes, muffins, and all types of tempting sweet goodness. Don’t worry, at least with those, you can bring them home for a dessert after all the hot dogs and pizza! You sure wouldn’t want to miss out on them; then again, it is not every day that you get genuine home-made cake!
An Opportunity for Local Artists to Show Their Worth
A standard part of every town celebration nowadays is an appreciation of the local artists. The Katy rice harvest festival offers painters and sculptors the opportunity to share all the hard work of the past year with the community. You’ll have the opportunity to view and buy a one-of-its-kind piece of artwork from an honored local artist. So, if you want something that reminds you of your region’s heritage displayed in your home, consider making a purchase at the festival this year.
If you’re a budding and enthusiastic Katy artist and you feel like its time your work went on debut, don’t hesitate. Talent no longer needs to be hidden. Your community wants to feel proud of you. Just fill out an application at www.riceharvestfestival.org to get started.
Handmade Crafts by the Locals: A Buying Opportunity You Don’t Want to Miss
Here is an opportunity to go treasure-hunting among the most creative and imaginative articles and products you could wish for! Local, handmade crafts, including everything from candles, to jewelry, to hand-knitted sweaters and stunning traditional quilts, line the streets from booth to booth in a colorful, dazzling array.
The rice harvest festival is sure to offer something for everyone. Maybe you’re a scrapbook enthusiast. Maybe you get the urge to wear whacky sticker tattoos. You could be a doting grandma looking for adorable home-sewn outfits for your little ones. Perhaps you’re a teen out for fantastic jewelry that will turn heads at school. Or you might simply be a collector of the cool and unusual. There are booths with literally hundreds of different types of merchandize. All you need to bring is an enthusiastic spirit and a bit of imagination.
The Katy Rice Harvest Festival is also the perfect place to hunt up that perfect gift. It couldn’t be made or bought with more thought and care! If you can’t figure what on earth to get so-and-so, come to the festival for some ideas. Someone among our huge Katy talent pool has thought of and created the right gift for anyone!
Live Music Entertainment
Live music plays an important part in the Katy rice harvest festival each year. Over the past, Katy has been the stage of celebrated Blue Grass, Country, and Folk bands who’ve all entertained us with their talents and skills.
So, how does it sound? Sitting on the grass, sampling some of the amazing foods from the nearby booths, your thrilling discovery at the craft stalls now safe in your possession beside you, while you chill out listening to some great music played live. Sounds great!
The main cooking competition for the Katy Rice Harvest Festival involves a rice dish that will knock the socks off the judges, a tradition started way back in the 1970’s when the festival first began. Every year, more than 100 contestants compete to see who can make the absolutely perfect rice concoction. Judges sample everything, from sweet to savory, from chocolate to spice, from jam to casserole. Competition entries are judged on three main criteria: taste, appearance, and lastly, creativity, a final point that brings out the imaginations of every Katy rice cook to try his or her wildest and most thrilling dish yet! Prizes are awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places.
If you would like to submit your own incredible rice creation at the festival competition this year, contact the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce for more information at (281) 828 1100.
Kid-Friendly Fun for the Whole Family
Carnival style entertainment is available for all ages and all sizes. Take a lift up the huge ferris-wheel; scream with excitement all the way down the waterslide; grab some cotton candy on the way to the whimsical carousel; bounce down the street on an old-fashioned hay ride. Bring cash for pony rides that will leave your small cowboys and cowgirls with memories they’ll cherish.
Small girls get to look forward especially to the annual appearance of their favorite Disney princesses, who will join the parade in a cascade of gorgeous gowns even more stunning in the movies! Afterwards, your little girl will have the opportunity to personally speak with her favorite princess, and even get a selfie with them. This exciting event has brightened up the Fall for hundreds of young Katy residents for decades.
Do You Want to Hold a Booth or Share Your Talent with Us This Year?
Go online at www.riceharvestfestival.org to see what the specifications and rules are for the type of craft, food, or entertainment you’d like to share with us. You’ll be able to register and pay on the website directly. However, don’t wait until the last minute; jump on your place before all space is taken up! The Katy Rice Harvest Festival works on a first-come-first-served basis, so booths are sold until they run out.
Attend This Year
Keep an eye on www.riceharvestfestival.org for dates. The festival lasts two days on a weekend in October.
You can reach the location off I-10 from Exit 741. The festival is held between 1st and 4th Streets in downtown Katy. Parking is available at Katy Mills Mall on both days and The Church of Christ on Saturday and the afternoon of Sunday. Handicap parking is on Ave A near 3rd St. Handicap restrooms are provided.
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