The streets of Crowley are getting ready to come alive for the 77th annual International Rice Festival. Starting on Thursday, the festival, considered one of the biggest in the state, was voted the best festival by the Louisiana Association of Farms and Festivals in 2012.
“The streets are pretty clear right now but by Thursday, we will have 70 food booths lining the streets of Crowley,” said reigning Festival Queen Sarah Mouton.
She is getting ready to hand her crown over to one of the 12 competitors Saturday. The number of women vying for the title is up from 5 in 2012, showing how much the festival has become. The entertainment aspect is also an example of growth.
“Neal McCoy is the headliner,” said Mayor Greg Jones. “We also have an added treat, a Crowley native (Lawrence Jackson) who is the band director at Southern University will bring is 'Human Jukebox' for the Grand Parade.”
Thousands upon thousands will show up, from around the state, nation and world. With so many people packing the streets of the city, security becomes a top priority.
Chief of Police K.P. Gibson said, “Every member of our department that is not assigned to duty as well as our reserves will be there. We also are getting a lot of assistance from other agencies that surround our areas. I think we have our schedule and the way we split up our area pretty well covered.”
For those who decide to cause disturbance during the family-friendly event, the price will be a hefty one.
“We have a 1000 cash bound for anyone arrested on the fairgrounds,” said Gibson.
He explained that he doesn't want festival lovers' money, and neither do festival officials.
“It's completely free. You don't have to pay a dime, there is no gate or entry fee.”
To view the schedule of events for the celebration of the end of the rice harvest, rice http://www.ricefestival.com