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Texas Rice Festival kicks off in Winnie, here's what Southeast Texans can expect to enjoy

Event organizers like Chris Street say this year the festival has over 500 volunteers, making it the biggest one yet.

WINNIE, Texas — The Texas Rice Festival kicks off Wednesday, September 28, 2022, where here will be plenty of food and entertainment.

Texas Rice Festival Marketing Director Chris Street say this year the festival has over 500 volunteers, making it the biggest one yet.

While everyone looks forward to the food vendors sell, it's something that is more near and dear to the community

"You see a lot of people you only see once a year out here and I see classmates that I won't see them at my reunions, but I'll see them here," Street said.

Attendees like Sarah Mclurain and Lauren Mayeun say they've been going to the festival since they were in diapers. 

Street says they will start planning for the 2023 Texas Rice Festival as early as next week, and each year is just as better than the last 

"Most of the fundraisers, more than half of our booth are local people that are churches and civic groups. This is the first full blown festival in four years," he said. 

Thanks to one of the festival's newest sponsors, everyone got in free on opening day. Most of the proceeds made will go right back into the community.

To find out more, anyone can go to the festival's website.

Tickets will be $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Carnival tickets are extra.

Thursday, September 28 is Cajun night with lots of Cajun style music starting at 6 p.m. 

Friday, September 30 is youth day with a lot of events for the kids.

Saturday, October 1 is the final day of the festival with the grand parade kicking off at 10 a.m. and entertainment starting at 4:30 p.m. 

“So this is the 53rd annual rice festival,” Tammy Gilfillian, Texas Rice Festival president, said. “It started 53 years ago to celebrate the ending of the rice harvest. All the local families were just happy to celebrate that that part of their rice crop is over.”

Gilfillian believes the festival has since developed into an event that entire families can enjoy.

"Now, it has become a family festival where people bring their children, lots of pageants, the carnivals, concerts food,” Gilfillian said.

Gilfillian believes the festival is not only a great deal of fun, but also a huge help to area organizations.

“For our local nonprofits, most of this is their main fundraiser for the year,” Gilfillian said. "They are able to use this money that they make here to sponsor scholarships and to help needy families and students throughout the school year.”

In addition to rice, Gilfillian said there will be plenty of food to taste and enjoy.

“Well, of course, the rice balls are probably the most popular thing out here. People come out and wait in line,” Gilfillian said. “We sell out hopefully every year. There are Cajun pistols. There is the KC burgers. This year our crab balls are back.”

“There is a website, texasricefestival.com, that has a list of all the activities," Gilfillian said. "You can find when all the entertainers are, about prices, about getting tickets, about the carnival bracelets. Everything that you need is on the website ”

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