COLLEGE STATION Texas A&M University’s international students will help bring the world to the Brazos Valley during the 2013 Brazos Valley Worldfest set for Friday and Saturday (Nov. 15-16) at Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater and Park.
Now in its seventh year, Worldfest celebrates the culture and heritage of all who live in the Brazos Valley by offering a range of activities for everyone to enjoy – from the youngest to the oldest.
“We are very excited about using the new park festival field this year,” said Kim Fox, festival coordinator and assistant to the Associate Vice President of External Affairs at Texas A&M. “We will be able to spread out to bring the wonderful culture and talent from Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, the United States and the Middle East for visitors to see, interact with and taste some of their cuisine.”
Brazos Valley Worldfest is organized by Texas A&M and the City of College Station. It will feature more than 50 culture booths, along with 22 different offerings of international cuisine and 21 performances on two stages.
The Friday night concert brings a new group, La Orquesta Salmerum, out of Houston to kick off the festival. With the heat of the timbales and the brilliance of a dynamic horn section, La Orquesta Salmerum has been spicing up dance floors, “Latin Nights” and festivals in Houston for more than a decade.
Tony Garza, founder of the 11-member band, says, "We also back up salsa artists when they come to town, and have played with salsa greats such as Tito Nieves, La India, Jerry Rivera, Tito Gomez, Maelo Ruiz, Tony Vega and many more.”
Salmerum will play from 7 to 10 p.m. with a variety of styles such as the salsa, merengue, cumbia, bachata and Cha-cha-cha. For those who want to learn the Salsa, Texas A&M’s Salsa Fusion Latin Dance Group is giving lessons at 6 p.m. on the concrete apron at the amphitheater. Join in the fun for a little salsa dancing or just sit back and enjoy the music and the dancers while sampling some of the festival cuisine.
The festival on Saturday kicks off at 10 a.m. It will feature international culture booths representing many of Texas A&M’s international groups as well as booths representing heritage groups from around the Brazos Valley.
“A little friendly competition between the groups to win the first place trophy makes for some excellent booth displays,” Fox said. “Not only do they need to look good, but they should offer some insight into the country they are representing.
“Engaging the community is one of our major goals,” she explained. “We want our festival attendees to come away having been entertained, but also informed.”
New to the festival this year is an expanded Kid’s Village with more arts and crafts, inflatables, games, a train ride and petting zoo from Franklin Safari, with exotic animals from around the world. Las Rebeldes De Houston women’s Latin horse-riding group will perform three shows on Saturday. Also new to the festival and new to Bryan-College Station is Pinot’s Palette. It offers a relaxed atmosphere where participants, guided by expert artists, can practice their artistic talent by painting their own creation or the featured painting “Japanese Moon Garden.”
Brazos Valley Worldfest will host the Salsa Tasting Challenge competition for the third time this year. Judging will be for any type of salsa, including hot or cold (temperature), green or red, cooked or raw, as well as any level of spice. There are two categories to the challenge – amateur and professional. Submitters in the professional category also have the opportunity to compete in the People’s Choice competition when festival attendees get a chance to taste and vote for the best salsa in the Brazos Valley.
“Vendors have expanded to bring some really fun opportunities as well,” Fox said. “Returning this year are food vendors with regular fair type food as well as Asian and Latin foods, ice cream and one of last year’s favorites – Wild Bill’s Soda. Non-food vendors new this year, besides Pinot’s Palette, are Origami Owl Living Lockets, a caricature artist, face-painting, Smokin’ Airbrush T-shirt artistry, and Peruvian Inca Wasi arts and crafts.
“We also have other great vendors – something for everyone,” Fox added.
Entertainment incorporates both local and professional talent. With two stages offering more than 20 performances, festival attendees will be able to see salsa, flamenco, Honduran, Indian, Indonesian and belly dancing along with storytelling from the African and Native American perspective. Music from Polish to Celtic and Tejano performers are scheduled on the main stage and, back by popular demand, are the Shaolin Lion Dancers.
“The Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble will get the crowd on their feet and the kids on the stage for some lively entertainment,” Fox predicted.
“The glue that holds the festival together is the participation by more than 300 volunteers each year,” she said. “There are a lot of Aggie student volunteers, but folks from the community volunteer as well. You will recognize them by their t-shirts that are a bright salmon color this year.”
While there is a charge for food and drinks, admission to Worldfest is free and parking is available at Post Oak Mall.
“Join us for a fun-filled day to celebrate with the world,” Fox concluded.
For more information visit the BVW website at http://www.brazosvalleyworldfest.org.