It is my pleasure to welcome everyone to the 80th International Rice Festival, the oldest and largest agricultural festival in Louisiana. This festival has a proud tradition of honoring our rice industry and the farmers who help keep this grain growing.
I hope you enjoy everything the festival has to offer. Come by and enjoy the food, parades, musical entertainment, contests - from queens to rice eating, carnival rides and all the special activities that make up this grand festival.
The 80th International Rice Festival will recognize JASON MONK as the 2016 Co-Grand Parade Honoree of the Year.
The 80th International Rice Festival will recognize JARED MONK as the 2016 Co-Grand Parade Honoree of the Year.
The 80th International Rice Festival will recognize CHARLES "CHUCK" ABELL JR. as the 2016 Honoree of the Year.
Charles William Abell, Jr., better known as ‘Chuck” was born on April 23, 1948 to his parents Bill and Jackie Abell. He would be their first and only son followed by four sisters. Chuck and his sisters grew up in the farming community of Welsh. He still calls Welsh home today.
Chuck spent many
after school hours working in a variety of odd jobs mostly in the
The 80th International Rice Festival will recognize DONALD A. LEONARD as the 2016 Farmer of the Year.
Donald A. Leonards was born and raised on a
rice farm just north of Crowley. A 4th generation farmer, there was
never any doubt that he wanted to become a farmer. He started helping
out his father, Dennis, by driving trucks and carts as soon as he was
able to reach the clutch. He continued to help on the family farm
each summer until his dad told him, "There's no one right way to farm
rice. You know how I do things, now go out and see how others farm."
So each summer he helped out other local rice farmers to gain new
perspectives and learn their methods.
The 80th International Rice Festival will recognize JACOB PAUL ZAUNBRECHER as the 2016 Junior Farmer of the Year.
Jacob Paul Zaunbrecher is the 17 year old
son of Wendell and Laurie Broussard Zaunbrecher of Crowley. He has
two brothers: Bryce, 23 and Ethan, 14 and one sister: Sadie, 16. He
is the grandson of Robert P. Broussard and the late Brenda B.
Broussard of Gueydan; and Leonard "Doc" Zaunbrecher and Charlotte
Sittig Zaunbrecher of Crowley.
Jacob and his family live on the family farm in Crowley. The farm consists of 2,600 acres of rice, soybeans and crawfish.
The 80th International Rice Festival will recognize KELLY CART LEONARDS as the 2016 Children's Parade Grand Marshall.
I was born and raised in Crowley, Louisiana. I spent many of my summer days in the rice fields of my Aunt Bobbie and Uncle Joe Ronkartz. These are very fond memories of the day-to-day life on a rice farm during the growing and harvesting season.
I am a graduate of Notre Dame High School - Class of 1977. I went on to LSU-Eunice where I earned an Associate of Science degree in 1979. I then attended LSU in Baton Rouge where I earned a B.S. degree in Elementary Education in 1981.