City of Katy Plans to Take Over Annual Rice Harvest Festival this Year

Rice Harvest Festival file photo – Courtesy Katy Area Chamber of Commerce

CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy News)—The City of Katy is in discussions with the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce to take over sponsorship and operation of the annual Katy Rice Harvest Festival.

“We’re planning on having a Rice Harvest Festival,” Mayor Chuck Brawner said. “We’re planning to put it on. We’re taking the lead on keeping the Katy Rice Harvest Festival going.”

Brawner said the festival is being planned for October, as it has been held in past years. He said the city has also had an initial discussion with downtown merchants, and that the festival name might change slightly with the sponsorship change. He said the goal was to keep everything as consistent as possible.

“We haven’t firmed up everything,” Brawner said.

The Mayor is going public with the plans, perhaps earlier than he wanted, to clear the air after Katy Magazine incorrectly reported that “There will be no Katy Rice Harvest Festival this year! Share your thoughts.”

While it’s technically true that there probably won’t be an event named the Rice Harvest Festival, the two sentence Facebook bulletin posted Tuesday night lacked enough context to make it incorrect.  The truth is that there will be a festival. It will likely have a slightly different name and a new sponsor.  It will celebrate Katy’s history as a rice farming community, and it will be hosted in Old Katy.

The name Rice Harvest Festival is owned by the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce.

Discussions between city and chamber officials have been taking place over the past couple of months.

Brawner said the festival is important for the Katy community.

“Rice is an important part of our heritage and it’s important to celebrate our history,” Brawner said.

Festival attractions include arts and crafts for sale, children’s attractions and rides, live performances on two stages, food and beverage stations.

Booths at past festivals have been staged by local businesses, professional networking and social organizations, and churches, among other groups. The family-friendly event also permitted pets to attend, provided that the pets were kept on a leash or were carried by their owners.

According to the chamber, the festival draws between 45-50,000 visitors each year. Many attendees come from across Texas, and from other states.

The first such celebration called a “Sellabration,” was held in 1978. Its purpose was to honor the local rice farmers and their contributions to the local economy.

The festival became known as the Rice Harvest Festival when it was held the second weekend of October in 1981.

The festival takes place in downtown Katy, between 1st Street and 4th Street and Avenue A and Avenue D.

Tickets to last year’s festival were $10. Children age 10 and under were admitted free.

THE CITY OF KATY STATEMENT ISSUED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2018 AT 11:51 AM

CITY OF KATY OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

From the Office of the Mayor

June 14, 2018: The City of Katy announces that it will host the 2018 City of Katy Rice Festival in Downtown Historic Katy the second weekend of October. The Katy Area Chamber of Commerce has hosted the Katy Rice Harvest Festival for many years but has recently confirmed they will not be putting on the festival moving forward.

Because the City of Katy feels this festival is of significant importance to our community, we would like to see the tradition continue, with a slight name change and restored focus. “Our goal is to bring the festival back to its original form,” says Mayor Chuck Brawner. “It will be a family-orientated event with only quality arts and craft vendors, live music, excellent food and drinks and fun for the whole family – an event that the City of Katy, our residents and businesses and visitors would be proud of.”

The City of Katy has begun the extensive work on what will be a revitalized festival. We plan to partner with area civic groups, local downtown businesses, influential Katy residents and key sponsors to make the 2018 festival – and hopefully many years to come – a success for the Katy community.

More information on the festival will be released as the details are formalized in the coming weeks. The City of Katy hopes you will support our dedication to this iconic festival. Please mark your calendars and plan to be part of the 2018 City of Katy Rice Festival.

If you are interested in getting involved via sponsorship, volunteering or for questions or comments, please contact Kayce Reina, the City of Katy’s Director of Tourism & Marketing, directly via email atkreina@cityofkaty.com or by phone at 281-391-8653.