RiceFest is an annual tradition that has been keeping the city of Riceboro a close-knit, Gullah Geechee centered community since 2007. This year’s RiceFest runs from Nov. 3-10, and offers food, music, competitions and exhibits for everyone.
The first RiceFest was held in 2007, according to the City of Riceboro’s website. The festival was held to commemorate the legacy of the Gullah Geechee people who have influenced the eastern coast of the U.S. from North Carolina to northern Florida.
RiceFest now includes a youth essay contest open to students in Liberty County, as well as a Miss Liberty RiceFest Pageant, Riceboro GospelFest, Riceboro Homecoming Dance, parade, Rice cook-off and a festival, the website continued.
The 2018 RiceFest Essay Contest winners included grade level 5-6 winner Tessa Rozell from Midway Middle School, grade level 7-9 winner Lenne-Rhee Tavoak Lemepu from Midway Middle School, and grade level 9-12 winner Keria Tate from Liberty County High School.
“The event is to re-acquaint people with the Gullah Geechee culture,” Contract Coordinator for RiceFest Debra Attical said. “It’s a part of Liberty County’s heritage. It’s part family reunion and part celebration of the culture.”
This year’s Miss Liberty RiceFest Pageant was Nov. 3, and the GospelFest was Nov. 4, with Dottie Peoples as the musical guest.
Peoples is a three-time Grammy-Award nominee, and multi award winning singer, Attical said. Peoples performs all over the country, and her reputation for warmth and compassion precedes her, because she embraces fans with love and sincerity of a close friend, the website said.
The RiceFest Homecoming Dance is Nov. 9, and features “In Da Groove” as the musical guest. Dinner menu options are provided by Shuck’s Seafood of Brunswick. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets are available online at cityofriceboro.org/ScheduleofEvents.aspx.
The Saturday festival includes a free performance by the Special Formula Band—a 16-member group that performs several different styles of music, according to their bio. Tony Terry and Pokey Bear will also be performing Saturday night.
This year’s 2018 Grand Marshal is Gwendolyn Stewart, a native of Riceboro and graudate of Bradwell Institute. Stewart retired from the Liberty County Board of Education after 32 years of service, and is currently a Deaconess at First Zion Baptist Church. Stewart also serves as chairperson of the Diversity Health Board.
The parade route can be found online on the City of Riceboro’s website, and will parade around the youth center and Highway 17.
The 2018 host hotel is the LaQuinta Inn and Suites of Hinesville.
For more information about upcoming events and RiceFest, call 912-884-2986.