By George Slaughter
The Katy Rice Festival, a long-standing Katy community tradition, is going online this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The festival is set for October 9-11. Organizers said a virtual experience featuring an online craft market, livestream band performances, and other family activities are being planned.
Craft vendors wishing to participate are being asked to complete and submit an application on the festival website. There is no cost for registration and participation in this year’s festival, though there will be a selection process similar to previous years.
This is the third year that the City of Katy, working with the Katy Rotary Club, has organized and staged the festival. The city and the Rotarians took over the festival in 2018 after the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce, the festival’s longtime organizer, declined to continue its participation that year.
In years past, festival attractions included arts and crafts for sale, children’s attractions and rides, live performances on two stages, food, and beverage stations.
Local businesses, professional networking and social organizations, and churches, among other groups, sponsored booths. The family-friendly event also permitted pets to attend, provided that the pets were kept on a leash or were carried by their owners.
The festival began in 1978 as a “Sellabration” and was designed to honor local rice farmers and their contributions to the Katy economy. The Katy Area Chamber of Commerce became involved in promoting the festival, which changed its name to the Katy Rice Harvest Festival in 1981.