From October 10-11, the Rice Harvest Festival will take over the city of Katy, TX. Each year, the festival attracts 40,000 or 50,000 people. This year, however, it is is expected to attract 100,000 people, due to favorable weather conditions.
The festival, which began in 1981, takes place in an area of the town called "Old Katy," where 6+ rice-drying silos stand. The event celebrates Katy's rice farmers and rice farming, which have had an important place in Katy's history.
According to the Rice Harvest website, farmers have been growing rice there since 1900. When the festival was established, rice farming in Katy was at its peak. Since then, rice farming has diminished in popularity, yet the tradition of celebrating the rice harvest remains.
It's about "getting back to the roots," says Jamey Kuhn, branch manager at the Springleaf* branch in Katy, TX. "It's important to remember the past and how the city was founded."
Kuhn, who moved to the city six years ago, will be attending the event for the first time. Because the event usually falls around the same time as his wedding anniversary, he's never been able to go. He has been told, however, that "this is the biggest event in all of Katy" and the surrounding areas.
This year, Kuhn will be participating in the event with his branch team and teams from 3 other Springleaf branches. They will be chatting with people and distributing swag at the Springleaf booth.
Springleaf's booth will be "in the middle of it all," says Kuhn. It will be near the food, beer, children's carnival area, and one of the live music stages. The festival grounds will also feature craft booths, how-to booths, and booths from other companies.
Kuhn looks forward to chatting with both customers and other companies. "The single most important thing is building relationships with customers and vendors."
The Springleaf booth will also feature bean bag toss, using boards that Kuhn built himself. When it became clear that the official Springleaf bean bag boards would not arrive in time for the event, Kuhn, who has been building themed bean bag boards as a hobby, decided to make some Springleaf boards himself. He'll also be making a Springleaf set for another branch to use for Springleaf's upcoming Customer Appreciation Days in November.
As unique as it is to have an event dedicated to celebrating the rice harvest, Kuhn attributes the uniqueness to a different source:
"It's unique to us because it's our customers. It's our people."
To find out more about the Katy Rice Harvest Festival, visit the event website.
* Please note that Springleaf has changed its name to OneMain.