NC Rice Festival postponed until 2020

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — The upcoming North Carolina Rice Festival has become another casualty of Hurricane Florence.

The Leland Tourism Development Authority acquired the Rice Festival over the summer, with the goal to hold a 3-day festival from March 1-3, 2019.

Now, the Leland TDA has postponed the festival until March of 2020.

According to a news release, it will allow sufficient time for organization and planning.

With the impact of Hurricane Florence felt throughout the region and primary focus of the Town of Leland staff, Leland TDA Board Members, and community at large shifting to disaster recovery, the Leland TDA Board of Directors unanimously agreed that in order to produce the festival that fit the group’s vision, a postponement to 2020 would be the best decision.

The Town of Leland says in addition to allowing more time to plan a great event, the postponement also gives ample time to form an independent non-profit organization tasked with operating the NC Rice Festival as a separate entity.  Initial meetings and discussions of potential members to serve on the soon-to-be-formed board of directors will begin in early 2019.

The Leland Tourism Development Authority purchased the North Carolina Rice Festival from the estate of WC Lanier, the former festival owner and promoter.  With this purchase, and the support of the Lanier family, the Leland TDA Board recognized an opportunity to bring what  Lanier started to an even broader audience and include celebration of local history and culture.

The festival’s new direction will expand events to three days, adjust venue to multiple Leland locations, switch from a fall festival to spring, and will include neighboring communities, projects, and groups such as the Gullah Geechee.

“The North Carolina Rice Festival is the type of destination event the Leland TDA has been looking for,” said Michael Callahan, Leland TDA Board Chair. “It’s an opportunity to draw tourists, build community relations, and explore the history of Leland and the surrounding area, with the potential to grow into a large-scale event in the future. We’re excited to promote the NC Rice Festival and share the heritage and culture unique to this part of Southeastern North Carolina.”

As non-profit formation develops and plans for entertainment, attractions and programs are confirmed, the updates will be posted on the NC Rice Festival’s website.

Categories: Brunswick, Local

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