More than 8,000 people are expected to walk throughout the cultural displays at this year’s Brazos Valley Worldfest on Saturday.

This community-wide international festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Brazos County Expo Complex and will include family-friendly activities, such as dances and storytelling from around the world.

Organized and run by Texas A&M, the festival’s mission is to promote and celebrate the international diversity and heritage within the Brazos Valley, said Manager of Community Programs Kim Fox.

“Brazos Valley Worldfest was created to promote culture and heritage awareness with the goal of creating a more welcoming environment for the international visitors in our community,” Fox said.

The festival began as a simple one-day event 13 years ago and has since grown to include awareness programs throughout the year, such as their International Film Series and Culture Club dinners.

“We strive every year to ensure that our visitors learn something new about a culture they did not already know,” Fox said. “Brazos Valley Worldfest has been an event that has become a community staple for all ages. That is our goal, knowing that once that seed is planted it will grow into so much more.”

At this year’s Brazos Valley Worldfest, there will be more than 45 cultural displays, including performances on two separate stages and international cuisines from six regions of the world.

“We strive to include representation from around the world, and this year we have displays from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Native America and the Middle East,” Fox said.

Fox said she encourages students to get involved with the festival, as they are already looking ahead to next year’s Worldfest.

“We are always looking for motivated individuals to volunteer and serve as committee co-chairs for the festival,” Fox said. “This is the perfect event to get involved with.”

Cultural Display Committee Chair Steven White said while the university and community are becoming more diverse, the Brazos Valley Worldfest has taken on the task of bringing everyone together in a positive way.

“The festival has helped to promote and educate many people about the cultures represented in Brazos Valley and at A&M,” White said. “Others in the community can learn a little more about each other, experience the diversity, and even enjoy and celebrate that.”

Mahjabin Chowdhury, president of the Bangladesh Student Organization and curriculum and instruction Ph.D. student, said she is looking forward to showcasing her country’s culture to the Brazos Valley community.

“We will be having our stall display Bangladeshi crafts, artifacts, souvenirs, showpieces, photos and henna art as part of our exhibition,” Chowdhury said. “We plan to bring our traditional foods and culture into the heart of the Brazos County.”

With so many people expected to attend Brazos Valley Worldfest, White said he is excited to see the divergence of different cultures in one space.

“The festival has led to an attitude of openness and even embracing people, cultures and practices that are different than ours,” White said. “The main goal of Brazos Valley Worldfest is to celebrate the cultural diversity among Aggieland and the community.”

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