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History


 First envisioned in the spring of 1947, the Neches River Festival plans were underway in 1948, and on the 12th day of May, 1949, a charter was obtained from the State of Texas for a nonprofit organization named the “Neches River Festival, Inc.”. 

The first Neches River Festival made its debut in Beaumont on May 28-29, 1949. T.T. Hunt, then editor of the Beaumont Enterprise, was the first General Chairman. The tremendous enthusiasm of many people was offset by the complete lack of money. It didn’t matter; everyone pitched in to help. The Beaumont Chamber of Commerce donated office space and furnished secretaries. Local merchants and florists donated their time and merchandise to produce the Pageant and Queen’s Ball. City officials contributed technical assistance, police security and help from other city departments. 

The first Royal Court was composed of 11 Duchesses and 6 Princesses. Following the coronation a street dance was held surrounding City Hall. The first Neches River Festival Regatta was held at the City Docks with 18 races, visiting yachts, and hundreds of spectators lining the docks. The first festival parade, held in 1950, included 28 commercial floats as well as a colorful array of bands. Over the past 62 years, the Neches River Festival has sought to emphasize our greatest natural resource, the Neches River. 

Riverfront activities, fireworks displays, water carnivals, ski shows, boat shows and regattas have, over the years, been centered around our river in celebration of its tremendous impact on our economy and its growth. The Neches River Festival also has included a variety of events and exhibitions during “Festival week”: a city-wide parade, a bridge tournament, art show and competition and flower show, to name a few. 

The second and perhaps greatest area of emphasis for the past 62 years has remained unchanged. The Neches River Festival celebrates our youth. The Festival keys in on high school seniors. In the last 13 years, the Neches River Festival has presented over 1,600 Princesses and has hosted approximately 670 visiting Duchesses and their families. When Escorts are included, over 4,500 young adults have been involved in Neches River Festival activities during this twelve-year period. Because these young people are so important to our community, the Neches River Festival has generously funded a scholarship at Lamar University, open specifically to the local young men and women who participate in the Festival each year. This scholarship is named in honor and memory of Otho Plummer, Jr., a man who played an integral part in both Lamar University and the Neches River Festival for many years. 

 The Neches River Festival is proud of its history and its tradition of community support and involvement. We look forward to continued recognition and celebration of the Southeast Texas area and its youth.


 
Past Kings
1949 BEN JACKSON
1950 FRED C. STONE
1951 S. PERRY BROWN
1952 WALTER CASEY
1953 J. L. C. McFADDIN
1954 L. F. REIGEL
1955 HOWARD W. GARDNER
1956 W. C. TYRRELL, JR.
1957 JACK FLETCHER
1958 T. T. HUNT
1959 JESS T. THOMSON
1960 C. N. KOLTER
1961 W. F. WEED
1962 KIRBY McGOWN
1963 E. W. EASTERLING
1964 LEE G. GRIFFIN
1965 EWELL STRONG
1966 TOM SWOPE
1967 JUDGE JOE FISHER
1968 JOHN E. GRAY
1969 WINSTON PROCTER
1970 RAY COLE
1971 JACK BROOKS
1972 BEN ROGERS
1973 W. SMYTHE SHEPHERD
1974 W. W. PHILLIPS
1975 JEFF MUNRO
1976 WILL WILSON
1977 J. O. CROOKE
1978 CHARLES LOCKE
1979 H. E. DISHMAN
1980 C. W. CONN, JR.
1981 FRANK ADAMS
1982 HERBERT HENNINGTON
1983 HOMER HOWELL
1984 WARREN GOEHRINGER
1985 JAMES C. POTTER, JR.
1986 JERRY NATHAN
1987 WILTON WHITE
1988 PETER WELLS
1989 GEORGE McLAUGHLIN
1990 JAMES C. YARBROUGH
1991 ALEX BROUSSARD
1992 KEN RUDDY
1993 JACK McNEILL
1994 HUBERT OXFORD, III
1995 DAN HALLMARK
1996 FLOYD McSPADDEN
1997 RANDOLPH NEY
1998 RAY RILEY
1999 W.S. “BUD” LEONARD
2000 W.E. “BILL” WILSON, JR.
2001 JAMES M. “JIMMY” SIMMONS
2002 MILTON GUNN “MICKEY” SHUFFIELD
2003 VICTOR J. ROGERS
2004 JOHN J. LOVOI
2005 PAST KINGS
2006 GARY CHRISTOPHER
2007 GUY GOODSON
2008 JOE DOMINO
2009 DAVID K. MOORE
2010 J. DENTON HARRIS
2011 JUDGE THAD HEARTFIELD
2012 BILL BENNING
2013 JAMES B. BROUSSARD
  Past Queens
1949 VIRGINIA RUTH PIVOTO
1950 JOYCE JONES
1951 LORETTA BROUSSARD
1952 JANIE NELSON
1953 KATHERINE PHELAN
1954 SUZANNE SUMMERVILLE
1955 COLLEEN PHELAN
1956 KATHERINE ROSS
1957 GLENDA SCOTT
1958 CAROL STEVENS
1959 ANNE SHEPHERD
1960 GALE GRIFFIN KELLY
1961 SANDRA MATTHEWS
1962 MARITA BLANTON
1963 CONSTANCE CORDTS
1964 ANNA GORDON TAYLOR
1965 MARY LOU BROUSSARD
1966 JERRILYNN JOHNSON
1967 DEBBIE THOMASON
1968 DALE MARTIN
1969 PAIGE PEMBERTON
1970 CHRISTIE WISE
1971 LAUREN JEAN LOMBARDO
1972 PHOEBE HAMBRIGHT
1973 KATHRYN FULTON
1974 CHERYL LYN BROUSSARD
1975 TANIA BIRDSONG
1976 MARY DONNELLY
1977 SUSAN SELLERS
1978 MARY JANE STEINHAGEN
1979 MONIQUE ZUMMO
1980 CATHERINE ANN BROUSSARD
1981 ANNE GONSOULIN
1982 AMY BUDD
1983 JENNIFER GORDY
1984 ERIN SHAW
1985 KAREN BROUSSARD
1986 ELIZABETH CONN
1987 KATHLEEN WINSLOW
1988 PHOEBE PHELAN
1989 MIMI GAMMILL
1990 LULA PAIGE POTTER
1991 MOLLY CHERYL CHRISTOPHER
1992 LINDSEY DUFOUR HARRIS
1993 JENNIFER HUBER
1994 ANNE REAGAN HARRIS
1995 KEELY WINDHAM
1996 MARTHA ELIZABETH DENHAM
1997 GINA MARIA DeMAYO
1998 EMILY DUNN HARRIS
1999 KATHERINE CECILIA MILGRAM
2000 TAYLOR BERNSEN
2001 RYANN ADELE REAUD
2002 DOMINIQUE CHRISTINE MARROQUIN
2003 LAURA ALINE TODD
2004 APRIL LAUREN HOLLAND
2005 ANN ELIZABETH GOLIAS
2006 ANNIE ELIZABETH DISHMAN
2007 DANIELLE DENISE WILLIAMS
2008 CARLY MICHELLE ALTER
2009 MEGAN MICHELLE WOLFROM
2010 CATHERINE ANNE DRATH
2011 LAURA CHRISTINE BROUSSARD
2012 MARY ELIZABETH BROUSSARD
2013 KATRYN MORGAN MEADOWS
     
Past Presidents
1949 T. T. HUNT
1950 C. N. KOLTER
1951 JIM BALDWIN
1952 DON EVANS
1953 W. F. WEED
1954 ROBERT C. SCHIEBLE
1955 OTHO PLUMMER
1956 JESS T. THOMSOM
1957 TRUMAN BEESON
1958 KIRBY McGOWN
1959 O. EUGENE DAVIS
1960 J. HOLMES JENKINS
1961 TOM C. SWOPE
1962 HUBERT FULLER
1963 LEE G. GRIFFIN
1964 WINSTON PROCTER
1965 GEORGE T. ADAMS
1966 RANDY McALPINE
1967 HOWARD HICKS
1968 SMYTHE SHEPHERD
1969 JEFF MUNRO
1970 M. V. THOMASON
1971 WILL WILSON
1972 ROLFE CHRISTOPHER
1973 FRANK ADAMS
1974 CHARLES B. LOCKE
1975 HOMER HOWELL
1976 PETER WELLS
1977 GENE FAIRES
1978 JAMES POTTER
1979 JERRY NATHAN
1980 WARREN GOEHRINGER
1981 DOAK C. PROCTER, JR.
1982 ALEX BROUSSARD
1983 GEORGE McLAUGHLIN
1984 WILTON WHITE
1985 CHARLES P. TURCO
1986 HUBERT OXFORD, III
1987 JACK G. McNEILL
1988 FLOYD McSPADDEN
1989 DAN HALLMARK
1990 W. S. “BUD” LEONARD
1991 BILL WILSON
1992 RANDOLPH J. NEY
1993 RAY RILEY
1994 BRUCE IRVINE
1995 RICK CANADY
1996 MORRIS WINDHAM
1997 MILTON G. SHUFFIELD
1998 GENE BURRUS
1999 MIKE SMITH
2000 MIKE PEYTON
2001 ED STEDMAN, III
2002 GARY CHRISTOPHER
2003 DAVID K. MOORE
2004 TOMMY LAMB
2005 BEN ORGAIN
2006 SKYLAR THOMPSON
2007 BRAD BROCK
2008 BILL BENNING
2009 JOE E. BROUSSARD IV
2010 JAMES R. OLD, JR.
2011 ROY STEINHAGEN
2012 DOUG MCMAKIN
2013 WILL S. LEONARD
  Citizen of theYear Recipients
1967 Cliff LeBlanc
1968 Ben Rogers
1969 J. O. Crooke
1970 Ray Coale
1971 Gene Ohmstede
1972 Jack Folmar
1973 Ed Stedman, Jr.
1974 Ralph Leaf
1975 Joe Bob Kinsel, Sr.
1976 Vic Rogers
1977 Howard Nichols, Sr.
1978 Billy Bryant
1979 C. W. Conn, Jr.
1980 D. Pat Wheat
1981 Patrick H. Phelan
1982 Maury Meyers
1983 William E. (Bill) Neild
1984 Dr. C. Robert Kemble
1985 James Yarbrough
1986 George B. Irish
1987 Judge Richard LeBlanc
1988 C. A. “Pete” Shelton
1989 Dr. Robert Birdwell
1990 Joe Bob Kinsel, Jr.
1991 Ken Ruddy
1992 Tom Harken
1993 Evelyn Marlin Lord
1994 Betty Greenberg
1995 Judge James M. Farris
1996 Reverend Oveal Walker, III
1996 James C. Yarbrough
1997 David Eric Bernsen
1998 Mark W. Stiles
1999 Dr. Carrol Thomas
2000 Dr. James M. Simmons
2001 Martha Irvin Hicks
2002 Paula Gwen O’Neal
2003 Tracy Byrd
2004 Roy Nelson Steinhagen
2005 Nell McCallum Morris
2006 Guy N. Goodson
2007 Joe Domino
2008 Judge Paul A. Brown &
       Dr. David Teuscher
2009 Sheriff Mitch Woods
2010 Skylar Thompson
2011 Joe Torrotice
2012 Judge James D. McNicholas
2013 Mitch and Michele Smith
 


 
Social Chairmen
1949 MRS. W. P. H. McFADDIN, JR.
1950 MRS. T. T. HUNT
1951 MRS. C. N. KOLTER
1952 MRS. LEE GRIFFIN
1953 MRS. JIM BATTERBEE
1954 MRS. JULIAN FERTITTA
1955 MRS. ED EASTERLING
1956 MRS. BILLY BRYANT
1957 MRS. WAT LANGHAM
1958 MRS. W. C. ROSS
1959 MRS. HOLMES JENKINS
1960 MRS. WINSTON PROCTER
1961 MRS. HUBERT FULLER
1962 MRS. GLEN McGOWN
1963 MRS. GEORGE ADAMS
1964 MRS. ARTHUR REIMERS
1965 MRS. ROGER PIPKIN
1966 MRS. JOE FISHER
1967 MRS. PAUL McGOWN
1968 MRS. M. V. THOMASON
1969 MRS. N. D. WILLIAMS
1970 MRS. H. M. HENNINGTON
1971 MRS. M. WYATT HAISTEN
1972 MRS. W. F. WEED
1973 MRS. P. C. CALDWELL
1974 MRS. ROLFE CHRISTOPHER
1975 MRS. WARREN GOEHRINGER
1976 MRS. JAMES C. POTTER, JR.
1977 MRS. JOHN T. GRAY
1978 MRS. SAM BAKER
1979 MRS. DON COLEMAN
1980 MRS. DOAK C. PROCTER, JR.
1981 MRS. STANTON WOLFROM
1982 MRS. JERRY NATHAN
1983 MRS. ALEX BROUSSARD
1984 MRS. MARVIN GORDY
1985 MRS. JORDAN REESE III
1986 MRS. FLOYD McSPADDEN
1987 MRS. THAD HEARTFIELD
1988 MRS. JIMMY SIMMONS
1989 MRS. TOM MANESS
1990 MRS. DANIEL FLATTEN
1991 MRS. KENNETH BAILEY
1992 MRS. J. PAT PARSONS
1993 MRS. MIKE SMITH
1994 MS. MARY OXFORD ENGLANDER
1995 MRS. J. DENTON HARRIS, IV
1996 MRS. PATRICK McGOWN
1997 MRS. LEON HICKS
1998 MRS. DAVID BERNSEN
1999 MRS. JOHN LOVOI
2000 MS. ZELMA MILGRAM
2001 MRS. ROGER SMITH
2002 MRS. WILLIAM V. GEYSER
2003 MRS. PAUL M. TREVINO
2004 MRS. R. J. BROUSSARD
2005 MRS. PAUL McCORMICK
2006 MRS. SCOTT MANN
2007 MRS. J. E. BROUSSARD IV
       & MRS. JAMES DISHMAN
2008 MRS. BILL BENNING
2009 MRS. DOUG McMAKIN
       & MRS. DAVID PERKINS
2010 MRS. DONALD JOWERS
2011 MRS. GEORGE BEAN
       & MRS. THAD HEARTFIELD
2012 HEATHER PETKOVSEK
       & RACHAEL ROANE
2013 CASEY WINSLOW
 
     
 
 









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