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The First Rice Festival (Rice Carnival)

To celebrate the “Golden Rice Harvest”, the first Bay City Rice Carnival, was held on August 28, 1901 and entertained over five thousand (5000) people.  Bay City’s population was one thousand (1000) at the time. This also celebrated the arrival of our first railroad--The Cane Belt Railroad in July of that year.  Special excursion trains were scheduled that brought in many visitors from other areas. 

Six tables, each more than a block long, were set up with white cotton tablecloths.  Thirty head of cattle, twenty sheep and a dozen hogs were barbequed on hand-dug, block-long pits.  That evening a big dance was held in the newly completed 13,000 square foot rice warehouse.

The Rice Carnival evolved over time, but was halted with the advent of World War I.  In October of 1941, it was revived as the Rice Festival by the Bay City Lion’s Club, and Aubin Cox was chosen as the first Rice Festival “Queen”.

With the outbreak of World War II, Rice Festivals were again put on hold until 1946.  They have continued since, and have been continuously expanded and enlarged. In 1954, selection of a “Rice Farmer of the Year” was begun.  Louis Harper was the first recipient of this award.  

Again, in 1961, the Rice Festival was cancelled due to Hurricane Carla.  Among the other annual festivities is the Rice Dish Round-up, which awards prizes to contestants who enter their favorite rice dish creations to compete with other entries.

Annual Project of Bay City Lion's Club
Cachet By Bay City Stamp Club
W. R. Carradine


The Matagorda County Tribune

Second Annual Rice Carnival Number

August 20, 1902

Courtesy Erwin Ward, Linda Lyle & Matagorda County Museum



Colorado Valley Rice Mill

J. E. Platt, manager

The handsome ad of this large mill appears on the inside of our front cover, and it is well worth your reading and careful consideration. It is an interesting business statement, and it involves your interest as well as theirs.





Bay City Lumber Company

B. J. Dantzler, manager

Beginning with a few cars of lumber when Bay City was a wee village, this time-tried establishment has grown and spread until it is now one of the most complete and extensive on the coast. Its officers are broad and liberal and its business will continue to grow with the growth of the country and expand with the increasing demands of the trade.



Gibson & Barber

In point of energy, business ability and disposition to accommodate, there is not a stronger firm anywhere than this. They deal in groceries, ice, etc., are mot worthy and enterprising young men, are helping to build up the town and develop the country, and they should be encouraged by a share of your trade. Read their half page ad., and remember what it says.





Copyright 2009 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Sep. 5, 2009
Sep. 11, 2009