BRYAN, TEXAS — The Brazos Valley Worldfest will soon tickle taste buds across the area.
The festival, organized by Texas A&M, has partnered up with Destination Bryan and the Downtown Bryan Association to give the community a unique experience of local cuisine as well as support local businesses during a time where many are still struggling to rebound.
The Brazos Valley Worldfest has been a signature event in the community since 2007. It aims to promote and celebrate the international diversity and heritage in the Brazos Valley.
For the first time in Worldfest history, an international restaurant passport will get you tasty samples with international flavors and cultures.
"With the festival going virtual this year, we still wanted to be able to have as much of a festival feel as we could so we have added a lot of virtual programming and created new activities," said Kim Fox, manager of Brazos Valley Worldfest.
The Brazos Valley Worldfest is in its 14th year and aims to get better with each event. Fox says she had a huge question as she planned for this year's event.
"How can we connect culture here without having a live festival? We have so many new and established restaurants here in the community. It was just a great way to be able to promote what they have and to get some new visitors in their doors and share their culture through their food," she added.
So far, 20 restaurants in the Brazos Valley have signed up and will accept the international restaurant passports.
"We have Pacific Asian, we have some Czech food, which this month is also Czech Heritage Month... we also have Tex-Mex, as well as American cuisine," Fox said.
One business, highlighting Czech culture, is the Kolache Capital, a downtown Bryan cafe founded in 1989. The Kolache Capital uses a century-old family recipe to back Czech staples right here in the Brazos Valley.
"We serve original Czech food, which is the kolache, which is a fruit pastry, and the klobasnek, which is a meat kolache. We are celebrating not only Worldfest, but also Czech Heritage Month in a community that is full of many Czech people that migrated here many many years ago," said Katie Neason, co-owner of the Kolache Capital.
Neason says year-to-year sales have dropped by almost half from last year to this year, making support of local business crucial.
"Even though we have had great support, it's hard to overcome this coronavirus, and if you can get out there and support a small business owner in any way, trust me, they are doing a happy dance as soon as you walk out the door because every sale is that important," Neason added.
To participate in the mobile-friendly passport program, visit discover.destinationbryan.com and download the free passport. Each restaurant you visit will have a QR code and a unique pin and from there you start your savings.
Virtual displays and performances will hit the festival website on October 19. The main festival event kicks off October 24.