By Sarah Huether
“Come celebrate the world at Brazos Valley Worldfest,’” says Kim Fox, festival coordinator and manager, community programs in public partnership and outreach of Texas A&M University. “Our mission is to promote and celebrate the international diversity and heritage of the Brazos Valley.”
“We wanted to create a community signature event,” says Fox. The annual cultural festival is hosted in partnership by Texas A&M and the City of College Station.
“[We] created the idea of Brazos Valley Worldfest from activities with International Education Week,” says Fox. The festival is an opportunity to connect the community to international cultures and international students to the community.
“Every year it’s gotten bigger,” says Fox, who has been with Brazos Valley Worldfest since its inception in 2007. Beginning with 22 culture displays and 3000 attendants, Fox says they have now grown to 55 different culture displays and between 13, 000 and 15, 000 attendants travelling from far and wide.
“It took on a whole new life,” says Fox, as access to the new festival field at Wolf Pen Creek Park and Amphitheater allowed the festival to explode in 2013. “We try to have representation from every continent,” adds Fox.
Three stages feature concerts, salsa dancing, storytellers, and arts and crafts fill the field. Dozens of interactive cultural displays compete to win a trophy awarded to the top five displays. “They go all out,” says Fox. Aside from the “typical festival food – anything fried,” Fox says nearly 20 cultural displays offer traditional samples from the country represented. This year, the festival will include Beers Around the World, the added revenue of which will create study abroad scholarships.
“Volunteer core is made up of mostly students but we also have faculty, staff, and people in the community,” says Fox. “Every year I see the connection with the Texas A&M Students and the young students that come out.”
Free to the public, the Brazos Valley Worldfest will be held Friday November 21, beginning at 6 p.m., and Saturday, November 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is available at Post Oak Mall. To learn more, volunteer, or see a schedule of events for the festival, visit brazosvalleyworldfest.org.