CROWLEY, LA -- The 81st Annual International Rice Festival was held this past weekend here in the “Rice Capital of America.” A celebration of all things rice, the festival is Louisiana’s oldest agricultural festival, and also one of the largest - since its beginning in 1937, more than seven million people have attended the annual event.
The celebration showcases the importance of rice as a food and emphasizes its place in the world economic picture. The festival also hosts a Rice Creole and Cookery Contest, and this year more than 100 entries, some from as far away as Arkansas, competed in four divisions: Children, Intermediate, Teen, and Adult.
Dishes submitted by contestants must contain at least one cup of cooked rice to qualify in one of four categories: Rice and Meats, Rice and Seafood, Rice Salad/Vegetable, and Rice Desserts. First place dishes in the Teen and Adult divisions compete for the coveted “Chef de Riz” title, and the honor of becoming an official representative of the International Rice Festival. Selection of the grand prize winner is based on taste, originality, and eye appeal, plus an interview with judges where contestants are quizzed on their knowledge of rice and the U.S. rice industry.
This year’s winners included: Aubrey Broussard from Maurice, Children's Division; Joshua Dietz from Lafayette, Teen Division; Alex Welch from Oakdale, Intermediate Division; Greta Lindsey from Arkansas, Adult Division; and “Chef de Riz” Beverly Klumpp.