KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
July 29, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
The historic Katy Rice Festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary virtually this year due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. Instead of canceling the traditional family event, the City of Katy believes it is in the best interest of everyone to move the festival online.
Pandemic Forces Historic Festival Online
The Katy Rice Festival will be held virtually this year on October 9-11 because of the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. The well-known event typically brings in crowds of 45-50,000. This week, the City of Katy announced the festival will celebrate its 40th year online.
“During this pandemic we have looked at all options as far as trying to hold our City of Katy Rice Festival,” says Mayor Bill Hastings. “This is an event we cannot control numbers of participants or social distancing.”
Safety is the Highest Priority
“It was certainly a tough decision,” says Kayce Reina, Director of Tourism, Marketing & Public Relations. “But the health and safety of our patrons, vendors, artists, volunteers, partners, staff and the entire Katy community is our highest priority. There is so much uncertainty surrounding the current COVID-19 situation, and many events and festivals across the state have cancelled.”
Event Celebrates Katy's History
The event was initially created to celebrate Katy's history and rice. Katy was the "Rice Capital of the World" and the remnants of that history can still be seen from I-10 in the form of the rice silos among the town's commercial growth and development.
Online and Drive-By Opportunities
The City of Katy Rice Festival brings people together to socialize, enjoy music, entertainment, food, crafts, and more. What started as a small community festival that brought in 300 people now brings in more than 40K people eager to shop local vendors and connect as a community.
This year's event will have an online craft market, live-stream performances, and more virtual experiences.
“We will also have displays and drive-by opportunities for participants to witness our rice farming heritage,” says Hastings.
According to Reina, the festival requires months of planning and a lot of money.
“It would be devasting to move forward and then have to cancel right before because it still wasn't safe,” explains Reina. “This is why the majority [events, festivals] have indicated they will defer their events until 2021, as the risks are just too great.”
“We will be encouraging people to support our downtown shops, businesses and restaurants and coming up with ideas to virtually connect the community as much as possible,” says Reina. “We have a lot of ideas on the table, and we are currently working hard to implement as much as we can.”
The Katy Rice Festival will be October 9-11, 2020. Visit the Katy Rice Festival’s website for information and continue to visit as more details become available.