Story by and Photos Courtesy of Brazos Valley Worldfest
Brazos Valley Worldfest began in Downtown Bryan with about 25 culture displays and an estimated 3,000 attendees. Now the community cultural festival has expanded to Wolf Pen Creek Festival Field with more than 55 culture displays and a peak 13,000 attendees. Brazos Valley Worldfest will celebrate its 10th annual festival on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4 and 5.
Brazos Valley Worldfest, organized by Texas A&M University and the City of College Station, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote and celebrate the international diversity and heritage of the Brazos Valley. Since the inception of the festival, this mission has expanded from more than just a Saturday festival.
“The festival continues to expand to include Storytellers in Schools and Culture in the Classroom programs the week before the festival,”says Kim Fox, festival coordinator. “Contact us now if you would like to have a storyteller or a culture presentation in your classroom this year. We hope to even include home school groups. We are also starting a Culture Club open to the community to experience culture through cuisine and the arts. Programs will take place throughout the year.”
The festival website is a great place to get updates on the event schedule as well as the other activities taking place throughout the year. For 2016, Brazos Valley Worldfest will be bringing back some of the most popular performers over the years including Kaminari Taiko Drummers, Bandan Kora African Dance, Los Wranglers Tejano band and Ridna Shkola Ukrainian School of Houston to name just a few. The Franklin Safari petting zoo, Las Rebeldes riding group, and Hullabaloos Inflatables will be on site with fun activities as well.
In addition to performances on three stages, festival planners hope to have a record number of 60+ culture displays. Tour the park and visit countries and cultures from around the world while getting your souvenir passport stamped. Community groups are encouraged to participate and set up a culture display and demonstration. There is no charge to participate and tents and tables are provided. “We are looking to really bring in the community heritage groups this year to expand the offerings of the Texas A&M University student organizations,” says Fox. “Not only heritage groups, but individuals or families are welcome to set up displays if it highlights a unique heritage.”
Brazos Valley Worldfest is still looking for interested volunteers. Groups or individuals are welcome to apply. There is a background check and application process online. Typically, the festival requires the support of more than 400 volunteers to operate. Volunteers work a three-hour shift and receive a t-shirt. Proof of participation can be provided if needed for community service organizations. Group and individual applications can be found on the volunteer page at the website.
Brazos Valley Worldfest
November 4, Palace Theater, Downtown Bryan
November 5, Wolf Pen Creek Park, College Station
Free to attend and parking available at Post Oak Mall.
Visit www.brazosvalleyworldfest.org for schedules and list of activities.
Brazos Valley Worldfest Artist Ambassador
To celebrate the Brazos Valley Worldfest 10th Anniversary, an official commemorative poster is being developed. In partnership with Brazos Valley Worldfest and The Arts Council of Brazos Valley, Bryan/College Station Sister Cities Association is commissioning the poster. Artists were recruited from the community’s Sister Cities in Bastogne (Belgium), Greifswald (Germany), and Salamanca (Mexico). Following a call for poster entries, Enrico Pense, an illustration artist from Greifswald with exhibits across Germany, will serve as the Artist Ambassador to design the 2016 poster.
Enrico will travel from Greifswald, Germany, along the Baltic Sea, to participate in Brazos Valley Worldfest. A number of sponsored events will occur for the community to meet Enrico. Leading up to the 2016 festivities, the commemorative posters – numbered/artist signed and unsigned, will be available for sale through the Bryan/College Station Sister Cities Association.