By George Slaughter
“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 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.
Discussions between city and chamber officials have been taking place over the past couple of months. There has been no immediate word from the chamber as to why it would need or wish to transfer the festival sponsorship. As mayor, Brawner is an ex officio member of the chamber’s board of directors.
Brawner said the festival was important for the Katy community.
“Rice is an important part of our heritage and it’s important to celebrate our history,” Brawner said.
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.