The 31st Annual Mauriceville Crawfish Festival is set for April 15, 16 and 17. The festival committee selected Ricky and Deborah Viator of Mauriceville as the 2011 Parade Marshals.

The Viators have been very active in the Mauriceville Crawfish Festival since its beginning and also in the community itself. The festival is in honor of the crawfish farming industry in Mauriceville, which was started by Deborah’s uncle and aunt, Owen Burton and Frances Collins, along with others. Deborah participated in the first Crawfish Beauty Pageant in 1981. She won second runner-up and Miss Congeniality. Ricky and Deborah became very active in the festival, organizing the volleyball tournaments and tug-of-war competitions. They also help with other activities in the festival.

 Ricky, a journeyman sheet metal worker through Sheet Metal Local 196, received an associate degree through Lamar Orange. 

Deborah graduated from Alvin Community College in 1983 with an associate degree in applied science. She  is a member of the Texas and Louisiana Court Reporters Associations and was a past president of Southeast Texas Court Reporters Association.
The couple was married in December of 1983. They have two sons, Joseph and Casey Viator.

They owned King’s Gym in Little Cypress from 1989 to 1995. Ricky has worked for Sign Doctor, Inc., since 1995 and Deborah has been a court reporter for Nell McCallum and Associates since 1983. Ricky opened Viator’s Smokehouse and Cajun Specialties last year.

 Ricky has coached Little League Football in Mauriceville and Orange Youth Baseball League  He became the president of the Mauriceville Youth Football League in 1999 and continued coaching there until 2007. He also served on the Southeast Texas Junior Football League Board as the Coaches’ Representative from 2002 to 2007. Deborah was the secretary for the Mauriceville Youth Football League.

Members of the LCM Athletic Booster Club since 2004; Ricky became club president in 2009 and Deborah took the position of secretary. They remain in these positions to date.
Ricky was president of Old Adams’ Pasture Hunting Club from 1995 to 2009.  He now is a member and president of Pop’s Place Hunting Club in Newton.

The couple have been members of St. Maurice Catholic Church since 1983. Ricky is a member of the Knights of Columbus and has served as president. Deborah is a member of the St. Maurice Altar Society and has served as president and secretary. She is currently a CCD teacher and Catholic Youth Ministry assistant leader. She has taught for 19 years.
In 2008, Deborah was diagnosed with breast cancer and began a year-long process of treatment. In 2009, Ricky was diagnosed with prostate cancer. They both continued with all their activities, just incorporating MD Anderson into their schedules.

Today they enjoy watching sons Casey and Joseph in all their sporting events. Casey is a sophomore at LCM High School. He plays football, baseball, and runs track. Joseph is a junior at Lamar University in Beaumont.  He plays football and will be receiving his bachelor’s degree in exercise science and fitness management. The Viators are looking forward to another great year of sports at LCM and Lamar.

The Mauriceville Crawfish Festival is located on Texas 62, 12 miles north of Interstate 10. Carnival rides, food, crafts and live entertainment will be offered.

Carnival wristbands will be available for $20 on Friday 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday noon-4 p.m. and 6-10 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m.

Friday, April 15
Barbecue cook-off/ Brisket and Ribs ($300 first prize in each event)
Gates open at 5 p.m., adults-$5; sr. citizens and students-$3; 5 and under-free.
Slow Rollin’ Lows-6 p.m.
Jimmy Kaiser-9:15 p.m.

Saturday, April 16
Parade begins at 9 a.m. on Highway 12.
Gates open at 10 a.m. Admission 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $5 for adults; $3 for sr. citizens and students; 5 and under free.
Beginning at 5 p.m., admission is $5 for everyone.
11 a.m.-Cajun Aces
1 p.m.-crawfish races
crawfish eating contest
1:30 p.m.-Mauriceville Elementary 5th grade choir
2 p.m.-Drug Store Cowboys
4 p.m.-Kelly Cordova and The Whole Shootin’ Match
6 p.m.-Southern Roads
9:30 p.m.-Cheap Whiskey (Dance)
Barbecue winners announced during the dance.

Sunday, April 17
Gates open at 11 a.m., $5 for adults; $3 for sr. citizens and students; 5 and under free.
noon-square dancers
Easter fun
1 p.m.-Battle of the Bands

Sponsors for this year’s event are Firestone Community Federal Credit Union, Better Built Metal Buildings, Doucette Paint Company, Ben’s Tire and Lube, The Fabric Store and Sew Much More, and Moz Grill.