International Rice Festival
The International Rice Festival is an annual festival held during the third weekend in October in Crowley, Louisiana, celebrating rice. The event is Louisiana's oldest agricultural festival, and one of the state's largest. The first festival was held on October 5, 1937 as the National Rice Festival; it was renamed the "International Rice Festival" in 1946 when the festival was resumed after a hiatus during World War II. Since the Festival's beginnings, over seven million people have attended the annual event.
There are two parades. The second is on Saturday and is the Grand Parade. There is a rice cooking contest, rice eating contest, farmers' banquet and the Queens' Ball. There is also entertainment continuously from early morning to midnight and an arts and crafts exhibit, which is held adjacent to the festival grounds and also on Main Street.
Chef de Riz is the annual title for the overall Rice & Creole Cookery Contest winner (listed above). The eight, first place winners from the four different categories in the teen & adult divisions get interviewed on their knowledge of rice. This has been an annual contest since the rice festival first started in 1937. The title of the first, winning dish in 1937 was called "Rice & Milk."
The reigning titleholder of Chef de Riz is Michelle Puissegur, of Crowley, Louisiana.
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