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Ricefest in Riceboro Saturday
Besides rice, sugar cane is also part of the area's agricultural past. - photo by Festival photo from 2009
Riceboro residents will pay homage to the city’s namesake crop Saturday at the fourth annual Ricefest celebration, which also will highlight the region’s historical connection to the Gullah/Geechee people who once labored on Liberty County’s rice plantations.
The event kicks off at 9 a.m. with a two-mile parade that begins at the Riceboro Youth Center and ends at the Riceboro City Hall; festival attractions will be set up nearby. City officials have asked attendees not to park on any street along the parade route.
Ricefest committee member Bianca Croft expects about 1,500 to 2,000 guests to participate in Saturday’s festivities.
“We would like to see the community having a good time while paying homage to the history and Geechee culture of the oldest existing town in Liberty County,” Croft wrote in an e-mail. “We would also like to see the Riceboro community excited about hosting an annual community centered event.”
She said attendees will enjoy a variety of foods including locally caught fresh fish and shrimp, rice dishes, barbecue, hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage dogs, hot wings and funnel cakes.
This year’s parade theme is “preserving the past, the present and the future.” The procession will include drill teams, marching bands, antique cars and motorcycle-riding clowns.
Mary LeCounte Baggs, Riceboro’s own 100-year-old resident, will be the parade grand marshal, according to the Ricefest website.
After the parade, the festival’s opening ceremony is at 11 a.m. It will include the posting of colors, the Pledge of Allegiance led by Miss Ricefest 2010, songs performed by First African Baptist Church’s male chorus and a welcome by Mayor Bill Austin.
A four-category rice cook-off will offer participants a chance to showcase their tastiest rice dishes. The competition is structured so that competitors have two chances to win in each category. Three professional chefs will judge the contest, according to the Ricefest website, and participants must have their prepared dishes set up at the cook-off tent by 10:45 a.m.
In addition to celebrating rice and history, the festival will offer entertainment throughout the day. The Georgia Geechee Gullah Shouters, Purified Sounds, Michael Hulett and Bruh Man are slated to perform. Christian comedian Darian Perkins also will take the stage.
Ricefest is sponsored by the city of Riceboro, CH2MHILL, the Hinesville Area Arts Council, Interstate Credit Union, PKP, Inc., and Interstate Credit Union.

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