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Rice Festival deemed “success” by organizers

The 44th annual Rice Festival is now a wrap, and the festival’s leaders are calling it a successful event.
The 2-day festival occurred on Friday and Saturday and featured an array of entertainers, vendors, tournaments and scheduled activities. In all, there were nearly 100 arts and crafts vendors who participated in the festival. An additional 15-20 food vendors also participated in this year’s festival, bringing the total of festival vendors to about 120. This is also comparable to the number of people who participated in years past, according to festival organizers.
While the festival’s organizers are still tallying the financial side of the festival, as far as profits and loss margins, they have released the festival’s estimated attendance: according to Rice Festival Chairman/President Josh Bell, the festival drew a crowd this year of about 20,000 to 23,000 people.
The 2018 festival’s attendance was between 20,000 and 25,000, he said.
“The Rice Festival this year was right on par with what we anticipated,” he said, on Monday.
In addition to the activities and entertainment venues, the festival featured the Saturday morning annual parade. This year’s parade was led by local community volunteers and retired business owner Donald Davis. Davis was also one of the first planners and organizers for the community’s Rice Festival.
Bell says he is very grateful to the entire community, particularly the Rice Festival Committee members. The committee is comprised of about 15 people from across the county. They plan the festival down to the smallest detail, he said.
“The City of Walterboro and Colleton County help us and support the event, but at the end of the day it is the Colleton County Rice Festival Committee and its volunteers who dedicate their time all year to make this a successful event,” he said. “This is a volunteer-based event. It’s a lot of sweat and time and planning to make this event happen,” Bell said.
The committee is comprised of Joshua Bell, chairman/president; Bubba Trippe, vice-chairman/vice-president; Jennifer Breland, secretary; Kelly Ritter, treasurer; and committee members Christian Spires, Aaron Nixon, Kevin Smalls, Gayle Kidd, Dionne Rhodes, Patrick Thomas, Jeff Musgrave, MaHallie Martin, and Ashley Rhode.
The Rice Festival Committee will begin planning the 2020 Rice Festival in August of this year, said Bell Next year’s festival will mark the 45th year for the event.

Heather Walters (1626 Posts)