By Kathryn Whitlock @Kathryn-whitloc8

Second annual event will be held on March 23-25 to host events celebrating the Lone Star State

To celebrate the soul of Texas, the second annual Spirit of Texas festival will be held at Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheatre in College Station, Texas. From March 23-25, a love of music, food, shopping and all things Texas will be catered.

The first Spirit of Texas festival was held in 2017. Skyler Watrous, marketing junior, has been working with the festival’s public relations manager and said approximately 25,000 people attended last year. Admission to the festival is free, and all activities support local nonprofits: the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Brazos Valley, Von’s Vision, K9s4Kids and Mobility Worldwide.

Cynthia Caroona, executive director of the Spirit of Texas Festival, said she hopes this festival becomes a new tradition for Aggies.

“We want something upbeat,” Caronna said. “I hope that everyone takes away how much Texans do for each other and what an amazing state we live in and how generous we are with each other. I think it will be a fun, fun, fun time.”

On Thursday evening, a VIP Texas legends mixer will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Six decades of Aggie stars will honor six Texas Legends: Don Adam, Edd Hargett, Billy Pete Huddelson, Michael McKinney, R.C. Slocum and Charles Butt.

“These were people that we selected that had gone out of their way to be good Aggies,” Caronna said. “They’ve given to the community, and they’re just good Aggies. All the legends will be brought onto the stage and each legend will be introduced by an Aggie star and will talk about why they are a legend. This will be an inspiration, because we will see what makes successful people successful.”

Musical groups, cook-offs, food truck competitions, trading markets, inflated rodeos and VIP experiences will be explored throughout the entirety of the festival.

“I am most looking forward to the music and food trucks,” Watrous said. “There is something about live music and good food that really brings a community together. It is the perfect study break and will allow me to expand my music and food knowledge. I am also looking forward to seeing the event as a whole come together.”

Starting on Friday, a BBQ cook-off will begin. At the 2017 festival, over 50 BBQ teams from across Texas participated. According to Watrous, this event is sanctioned by the International Barbeque Cookers Association. The cook-off will offer cash and prizes of $10,000.

“The festival boasts multiple stages that will feature a variety of Texas musical groups,” Watrous said. “The performance schedule will include a variety of genres, including country, gospel, cowboy, jazz and more.”

According to Watrous, Stephanie Quayle is one of iHeartRadio’s Top 5 Rising Stars and will be performing on Friday evening with Terry & the T-Birds, an Elvis impersonation band.

On Saturday, attendees will have the opportunity to break a world record: the world’s longest ice cream sundae. According to Caronna, the current Guinness World Record remains at 3,627 feet and 8.8 inches. Watrous said that 500 gallons of H-E-B Creamy Creations ice cream, 300 gallons of chocolate sauce, 25 pounds of sprinkles, 2,000 cans of whipped cream and 20,000 cherries will be used to construct the sundae.

A&M students have been working with Caronna on marketing roles. The Mays Business School’s Aggie Advertising Club has brainstormed, planned marketing strategies and volunteered at promotional events. Adriana Radu, business honors and marketing sophomore, said the club has a Spirit of Texas Festival Committee that aids in public relations, graphic design and press releases.

“It has been exciting to be a part of the planning process,” Radu said. “I can’t wait to see it all come to life. The Spirit of Texas Festival has opportunities for any student who is interested. Even architecture majors can help by planning the layout of our mile-long ice cream sundae, which we will be building at the festival.”