From the whispers around town and lavish kickoff parties, to the social media posts and seemingly endless billboards ads, you have either seen or heard about the infamous Festival that is making its way to the Bryan/College Station area. If you haven’t, please let us have the honor of filling you in on what is better known as, the Spirit of Texas Festival.

Sponsored by College Station Medical Center, The Spirit of Texas Festival is sure to be the place for you, your friends, and family! From eating, to dancing, to potentially setting a world record or two, this four-day fest of food, fun, and entertainment will start March 2 and run through March 5. To make it even better, this free festival will be held right here in College Station at Wolf Pen Creek Park.

To kick the festivities off, a world record currently held by North Dakota for the largest serving of chili will be broken. Chili is the state food of Texas, so shouldn’t we naturally hold the record? If you are worried about all that chili going to waste, don’t be – there’s also a Frito Pie record to break, along with a competitive eating contest to spectate, and many food trucks that will serve the public all while competing for the $10,000 cash prize in the Spirit of Texas Curbside Smack Down.

In other baked good news, you can participate in the pie-baking contest that has winnings of up to $5,000 cash prize! If you enjoy cars, there is even something here for you, too! There will be cars and motorbikes showing off in a competition that will showcase their assets – there is a lot of money to be won among the various competitions that are available for watching and participating in. But aside from the monetary prizes, getting to experience the competitions will be a guaranteed win for your spirits.

Be sure to bring your best dance moves and your favorite partner to spin around the floor because to go along with your dining pleasures, there will be two stages packed full of live music. On the Shiner Biergarten Stage, you’ll be able to find a variety of up and coming artists and over on the main stage, you’ll be able to find names such as Sam Riggs and local Jerrett Zoch & The OSR Band.

We ventured out to the beautiful Schiller Ranch and set down with Philanthropist and this year’s Executive Director, Cynthia Carrona, to discuss the many details behind this four-day long affair. In our exclusive interview, we set down with Carrona to discuss her passion for helping others, why she chose the Brazos Valley out of all places, and what the future has in store for the Spirit of Texas Festival.

MW: What is the reason you all started the Spirit of Texas Festival?

CC: One of the many reasons is that we wanted to give the people of the Brazos Valley something to be proud of, with the future goal being to create additional funds for various local charities throughout the Bryan/College Station area. If you draw a circle around this growing community, over 80% of the state’s population lives within 200 miles of that circle. With that being said, the real question for us was why not!? Houston has the Houston Rodeo, Austin has SXSW, and Dallas has the State Fair of Texas. Now Bryan/College Station will have Spirit of Texas.

MW: Outside of  there not being a landmark event of this proportion, why did you decide to make the Brazos Valley home to the Spirit of Texas Festival?

CC: This community is very important to our Founders, John and Kristi Schiller. They are the reason we are here today. John is a Texas Aggie through and through, as was his Father before him. His deep ties and love for all things Texas A&M made choosing College Station a very easy decision.

MW: What are some things the residents of BCS can expect when attending this year’s event?

CC: Thanks to our title sponsor College Station Medical Center, we have been afforded the opportunity to offer numerous activities for the residents of BCS to enjoy throughout the four days of Spirit of Texas! We are breaking three Guinness World Records by hosting the world’s largest Two-Step, thanks to The Lil’ Wranglers and Wranglers Elite. Will also be cooking the largest bowl of chili and serving the world’s largest Frito pie. These are just a few of the history making activities that we hope to share with the people of BCS. Outside of bringing those World Records home to the Brazos Valley, we will be having Car Shows, BBQ Cook-Offs, Food Trucks, Live Music and so much more! There really is something at the Spirit of Texas Festival for everyone. We worked extremely hard to develop an event that anyone would enjoy being at. From the local vendors and retailers, to the activities for kids, our mission has always been bringing people together.

MW: Where did the name “Spirit of Texas” originate from?

CC: We wanted to celebrate what Texas is all about. As Texans, we are proud of our state’s accomplishments and that really shines through in its residents…that is the Spirit of Texas.

MW: This Festival is benefiting so many incredible charities and organizations. Can you tell me about some of those charities and what they mean to you and The Schiller family?

CC: We have invited dozens of local charities to be a part of this year’s event in hopes that we can help further their cause and spread their message. First and foremost, K9s4COPs, a non-profit started by our Founder, Kristi Schiller, is a charity near and dear to our hearts. Her efforts have helped build a safer future by placing K-9 officers in communities and schools all over the world. Ronald McDonald and Mobile Worldwide are two other charities that we will be partnering with at this year’s event! Some of the local charities we are supporting are the Boys & Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, Fun For All Playground and the Brazos Heritage Society to name a few.

MW: Can individuals attending or other businesses donate to these charities at the Spirit of Texas Festival?

CC: Absolutely! Anyone can donate to the charity of their choosing out at the event or through our website

MW: After the Spirit of Texas Festival comes to an end, what’s next for the future of this event? Any plans in place to bring it back again next year?

CC: We will definitely do it again next year! This is an annual event and I’m happy to say it is here to stay.

MW: Before we part ways, can you give the readers of Maroon Weekly ONE reason why they DO NOT want to miss out on this event!?

CC: Actually I will give you two! Number one… you have the opportunity to be a part of making history happen…and two…it’s free to attend! Now you can’t beat that!