Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Katy's Annual Rice Harvest Festival


As many of you know, my family and I live in the Katy area just west of Houston. We've been living out here since 1992. We LOVE it! The schools are great and the people are just what you would expect from a small Texas town, everyone either says hello or they'll wave at you. It's a nice way to raise children while still living in a big city.

Every year the city of Katy has its Rice Harvest Festival. This year will be Katy's 29th annual Rice Harvest Festival. Of course the festival celebrates the harvesting of the rice fields which still exist west of town (some 9500 acres). This year will be like most other years, a very big deal. The Festival will take place the weekend of October 10th and 11th in the usual place, the historic downtown Katy which goes from 1st street to 4th street and avenue A to avenue D (you can see a map by going to http://www.katychamber.com/). The gates open on Saturday at 10am and don't close until midnight. Sunday the gates open at noon and will stay open until 6pm.

Every year they kick off the festivities (10am Saturday) with the Rice Harvest Festival Parade which is a hoot for all, especially the kids. After that, it's all entertainment, food and fun. There will be over 500 entertainers on two different stages this year with Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88's, Zydeco Dots and the Grateful Geezers just to name a few. There will be 20 food vendors to satisfy your culinary demands and boy do they have some excellent sausage on a stick! All the food is tasty and reasonably priced (as I write this my stomach is growling and my memory is watering). There are plenty of beverage stations for the children and adults, so whatever mood your in, the Katy Rice Harvest Festival should have the drink for you.

Do you like carnivals? Well, you guessed it! Katy's Rice Harvest Festival has one heck of a carnival. Of course they have the huge Ferris Wheel (being afraid of heights makes it one of my favorites), all those rides that spin around much too fast for me, plenty of kiddie rides and all the carnival games needed to win that stuffed teddy bear for that special someone. The atmosphere at the Rice Harvest Festival really is like something out of one of those movies where the boy meets the girl at the country fair and that's where the love story really gets going. Did you ever see Doc Hollywood? Kind of like that. You're going to love it! Now the rides do cost and there are two ways to deal with it. You can pay by the ride (I don't recommend) or you can buy and all day/all ride pass for $20 per person. You will get your money's worth! The lines at the rides are long but they know what they're doing at the carnival and you won't be waiting for long.

But that's not all. The Katy Rice Harvest Festival will have around 250 arts and crafts booths. With Halloween right around the corner, you'll find all kinds of things to decorate your yard or house with. So if you're looking for decorating items for the house, maybe picking up a birthday present or two, or doing a little early Christmas shopping, you can find it all at the Katy Rice Harvest Festival.

Alright, how much does it cost to get in? Great question. Great answer. It is only $6.00 for anyone 13 and older. Children under 12 get in free! And, senior citizens as well as members of the military get in free (you will need ID). During these economic times I can't think of a better, more affordable way to spend your weekend. And, a portion of the proceeds go to Katy's project graduation and project prom, so you're helping out the community! Does it get any better? Yes it does. There is a free shuttle service to take you to the festival if you can't find a place to park close by. It's located at the Outdoor Learning Center on F.M. 1463. For more information just go to the Katy Chamber of Commerce website at http://www.katychamber.com/ where you can get all the information you'll need.

My family and I hope to see you there this year. We've been going to the Rice Harvest Festival for 17 years now and I can tell you it is an event you will not soon forget and will want to make it a part of your life each and every year. Also, with it being college football season, you might want to wear your Alma mater's shirt or your favorite college team jersey. You'll see a lot of A&M wear for sure. I'll be wearing my Longhorns shirt and my wife will be sporting her Texas Tech Mom shirt. What will you be wearing?

Again, for more information on the 29th Annual Katy Rice Harvest Festival, go to http://www.katychamber.com/ and I look forward to seeing you there.


P.S. Coming up! All the scoop on this years Italian Festival.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Italian Expo at the GRB

Hello and welcome to Darby's Alternate Route!

I just wanted to let you know that my family and I went to the Italian Expo at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Sunday. What a fantastic event! Thanks to Spec's Liquors for putting on the event. The expo ran from Friday until Sunday and from the sponsors and volunteers I talked to, Friday and Saturday were jam-packed with people. I'm glad I went on Sunday. I thought it was packed then.

They had everything Italian in there, from dozens of different kinds of cheeses (they had a goat cheese that was my favorite) to sausages, baked ziti, lasagna, chocolates, italian ice creams, proscuito, olive oil, crackers and about 100 different kinds of italian wines. And you could sample them all for free! A good time was had by all! They even had a fashion show which my daughter must've watched three times. All the vendors were very friendly and well educated on all of their products.

I highly recommend this expo the next time it comes to town and want to thank Paul Tilotta at Spec's for the tickets. Paul tells me that Spec's plans to bring back the expo this coming spring. I'll definitely be there and I'll let you know all the info when I get it myself. Coming up is the Festa Italiana in October. I'll have all the information on that good time coming soon. Stay tuned.

Thanks to everyone who came up to me with well wishes. It really means a lot to me.

Talk to you soon,