10 Reasons to Get Your Texas Reds Tickets Right Now

This year, the Texas Reds Steak and Grape Festival is back for its 10th anniversary! The festival is set for September 23-25, 2016 in Historic Downtown Bryan, Texas. Wine, beer and food lovers alike will be in heaven throughout the weekend with tons of ways to partake in the festivities, but if you still need convincing we’re giving you 10 reasons to get your tickets right now!

  1. There’s going to be over 20 Texas wineries

    • Did you know that Texas is the fifth-largest producer of grapes and wine in the country? Representatives from over 20 Texas wineries will be on site Saturday and Sunday offering samples of the best in the state. Don’t miss out on the exclusive Texas Reds wine from Messina Hof while you’re in town!
  2. The Entertainment lineup is as prime as the beef!

    • Live music is a staple at any festival, but Texas Reds is taking it to the next level with four different stages and over 40 acts slated for 2016. Festival favorite Ray Wylie Hubbard will be returning for a performance on Saturday night and Grammy winner Rodney Crowell will grace the stage on Sunday afternoon. Other artists include local favorites The Docs, The Texas Twisters, The Nightowls, Joey McGee and more!
  3. Art, art and more art
    • The best vendors and artists in the state of Texas will set up shop in the heart of Texas Reds festival, offering everything from pottery to jewelry, wine accessories and more over the weekend.
  4. The family will LOVE it!

    • Bounce houses, arts and crafts, and Paw Paws party train! Bring the kiddos out for an entire weekend of family fun and festival goodies! $15 gets kids unlimited fun in the Texas Reds Festival Kids Zone! There’s also a grape stomping competition
  5. It’s festival foodie heaven

    • This year, Texas Reds is expanding its steak offerings with the Farm-To-Table Texas Dinner, VIP Kick-off Party, Saturday Night Steak Dinner, and the Steak and Egg Brunch on Sunday! Get your fix of Texas steak at one of these events or you can partake in some classic festival food, or stop in at one of the local restaurants in Downtown Bryan for a special Texas Reds menu!
  6. Train Rides
    • Presenting Sponsor Union Pacific has partnered with the Downtown Bryan Association this year to bring its Heritage Train for the festival! The train will run throughout the event, giving hourlong rides outside of Downtown Bryan and back.
  7. Experience Historic Downtown Bryan

    • While you’re taking in Texas Wine, Beer, Steak and tons of festival fun, take a second to stop in some of the local shops and restaurants in the area. Shops include boutique clothing stores, antiques, furniture stores and art galleries for all tastes.
  8. It’s Hoppin’
    • Last year over 15 Texas breweries were in attendance at the festival with samples of some of the greatest brews in the state! This year, expect even more craft beer and tastier hops!
  9. It’s the 10th Anniversary and things are better than ever
    • Like wine, festivals only get better with age. The Texas Reds Steak and Grape Festival is turning 10 this year, so don’t miss the celebration!
  10. 10% off tickets before September 10th!
    • As if we need to give you any more reason to get your tickets right now, you can get 10% off your Texas Reds Steak and Grape Festival passes by using the code 10UNTIL10 at checkout! Snag your tickets now at texasredsfestival.com!

Best Burger in Bryan College Station

Hamburgers are a staple of American food. They come in all shapes and sizes, with all types of toppings, condiments, and sauces. Hundreds of restaurants throughout the area offer some version of a hamburger on their menu, and we set out to find the best burger in town!IMG_9804

Because the burgers differ so much across restaurants, we decided to find the best traditional hamburger. We wanted to have a comparable sample of plain burgers with the standard meat, toppings, buns, and sauces.

We began by sending out a survey to everyone in the office asking them to select their five favorite burger joints in Bryan College Station from a list of 15 places. The survey also included an open response section to write in an additional burger place. We compiled the responses and narrowed that list down to the top 10 places in Bryan College Station. We then decided to conduct a completely blind taste test of the top 10 places. We followed careful procedures to ensure that high quality and unbiased results were obtained. First, the restaurants were not informed ahead of time that they were being sampled, or that we were writing this blog. This was to make certain that a “special” batch was not made just for the judges.

Second, the burgers were purchased around the same time every day we did a taste testing (shortly after lunch). Our goal here was to get a consistent and comparable sample across restaurants. Only one person in the office was responsible for purchasing the burgers. They were tasked with cutting the burgers into quarter-sized portions on a plain plate, while hiding any bags or receipts from the judges. The knowledge this person possessed about where the burger came from meant they were ineligible to participate in the testing.

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Judges filling out score cards as they taste test

We sampled burgers over the span of a two-week period. The judges – which had to be a minimum of 8 people per sample (generally between 8 and 12 judges) – were given a universal score sheet used for every burger sampled. The scoring sheet consisted of seven, 5-point Likert scale questions, ranging from very favorable on one end of the spectrum, to very unfavorable on the other end. We asked judges to rank the overall taste of their first bite, then their second bite. Next, we asked them to rate the quality of the meat, their satisfaction with the taste of the bun, the flavor of the condiments, and the overall freshness of the burger. Finally, we included an open response section for judges to write additional comments. Throughout the tasting process, the judges were not informed of the burger they were sampling.

Our Twitter poll from the top 4 places in BCS

After all of the burgers had been sampled, we tallied up the responses from our scoring sheets. The scores from each of the seven questions were taken into account and added up across respondents. A cumulative average was computed, and the burger places were placed in rank order. We then chose to expand our reach to gather the input and opinions of local residents about the top burger places in Bryan-College Station. We posted a Twitter poll for people to choose their favorite burger place from the top 4 places.


Every restaurant in Aggieland makes our town unique. We won’t be publishing the scores or the final ranking order of our restaurant list because we don’t want to alter peoples’ current perceptions of local restaurants. A burger that ranked low on our judges’ list might rank higher on another person’s list. We are going to leave it up to visitors and residents to decide what their favorite burger is!

We used the votes from our Twitter poll, and the averages from our blind taste test to arrive at our top three burgers in town: (in no particular order)


Blackwater Draw
Grub Burger
Proudest Monkey

I traveled to these places to film interviews with the head chef and general manager at each establishment. I asked them questions like: Why do Texans love burgers so much? What makes this establishment so special and so unique? What is your best selling burger here? How many burgers do you go through in a day? While at these restaurants, I tried their best selling burgers and they were delicious!

I edited a quick video of my experiences at the best burger places around. Check out the video here:

Happy Burger Eating!



Pet Friendly Patios in BCS

We wanted to find some pet friendly patios in Bryan College Station for our furry friends. After some looking, we found the following places allowed dogs on their patios. 


Blackwater draw 

Blackwater Draw has a great outdoor space in the Northgate District. Pups of all shapes and sizes are welcome. Kick back and play a game of cornhole or washers.  Blackwater is known for great craft beers and food sourced from local farms. They are open from 11 a.m .to 2 a.m. Monday to Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.


Lakeside Icehouse

The Lakeside Icehouse at Lake Bryan is a great place to bring your four-legged friends. The Icehouse has a patio right next to Lake Bryan. The icehouse is a great place to eat, play and listen to live music while enjoying the Aggieland Sunset. They also serve brunch Sunday afternoons.


Torchy’s Tacos

The Austin chain finally brought a store out to Bryan College Station. Enjoy gourmet street tacos and views of Texas A&M University.


Village Café

Grab a coffee and relax in the middle of Downtown Bryan at The Village. They also serve sandwiches, pizza, and other café-style dishes. Local artists routinely play at the Café, and local artwork can be found throughout.


West End Elixir Company

West End Elixir is the first cocktail-specific bar in Aggieland. Enjoy great drinks, specialty pizza and appetizers in one of the coolest patios in Bryan College Station. A retractable wall on one side connects the patio to the restaurant in the cooler months. The second floor will be a cigar room. Patrons can buy and smoke cigars on the patio as well, and stay close to their furry friends. During the morning West End serves as a coffee shop with fresh coffee and donuts.


The Corner Bar and Grill

The Corner allows dogs on either one of their two patios. The rooftop patio provides a rare view of Texas A&M campus and Bryan College Station. They have an eclectic menu and daily drink specials that are sure to keep all kinds of guests happy.


Carney’s Pub and Grill

Carney’s is a standalone bar with a modern feel. Get lucky in a game of giant jenga or bingo, or partake in one of many weekly events and craft beer releases. Carney’s serves half-price food on Fridays and is home to over 46 draft selections.


World of Beer

One of the newest places on this list, World of Beer is much more than the name states. Enjoy a night out with the pup, listen to live music, grab a flatbread of gourmet burger, and play some cornhole. World of Beer has a full menu as well as their extensive collection of beers and ales.


Grub Burger

Grub Burger has been dubbed one of the best burgers in BCS pretty much since its inception. Grab a burger and/or a gourmet shake from a wide selection of options. Grub has a patio out front that accommodates guests of the canine variety.


Revolution Café and Bar

Revolution features a spacious patio/courtyard. Come out of for poetry open mic night on Sundays, grab a coffee and join in on some yoga, or come Thursday through Saturday for some great live music. Of course, dogs are always welcome.

Creative Talent in Bryan College Station

Go visit the “Abstract Expressionist Texas” exhibit at the SEAD Gallery before it leaves on August 13.

I enjoy painting and I love all things artsy and creative. This passion for art drove me to take a recent trip down to the SEAD Gallery in Downtown Bryan to check out the “Abstract Expressionist Texas” exhibit. This exhibit features two Bryan College Station local artists; John Krajicek and Thomas Cavaness. The exhibit opened on June 16 and will stay in the gallery until August 13.

I invited both artists to walk me through the exhibit while we discussed their motivation and inspiration to create the wonderful art that they have. Cavaness also has artwork up at the Village Café in Downtown Bryan. He estimates that he has at least 65 pieces displayed between the exhibits at both locations. One of the biggest things that inspires Cavaness is an urge to do something creative. “Sometimes the urge is so strong that I just need to do something hands on. It isn’t enough to just be around creative people or things.”

Perhaps one of the most insightful thoughts Cavaness shared was his favorite thing about art: “When you create art, you have the ability to leave a piece of you with someone else. It is fascinating that your art can live on beyond you or your lifetime.” It was also interesting to hear from Cavaness that he notices small details like people using certain tools, or certain textures on walls, and color schemes on billboards. “These visual aspects have an effect on me as an artist,” Cavaness said.

Thomas Cavaness (left) and John Krajicek (right) on opening night of the exhibit.

Krajicek has a love for the abstract expressionist movement. Several of his pieces in the exhibit are a tribute of sorts to famous abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock. Krajicek views artist Gerhard Richter as one of the most successful abstract expressionist painters. He is heavily influenced by Richter’s mystical, almost monochromatic paintings.

Krajicek revealed that he views the process of creating art like that of doing a battle with the canvas. “The artist struggles to win out and finalize something creative by interacting with and responding to what is on the canvas.” Krajicek feels that as an artist, you must detach yourself from the outcome and the end result of a painting to truly succeed. “When you get into the right frame of mind, you become less critical of yourself and feel freer to create.”

“Being a good artist is not about the technical ability you possess; it is about your ability to think creatively” (Krajicek).

Krajicek said the hardest part about abstract painting is knowing when you are done adding paint, and he makes a genuine effort to not paint anything realistic. “I prefer to paint something new and unseen; not a representational image of something that already exists in the world.”

Krajicek loves utilizing the technique of “action painting” in his artwork. Action painting is a style of abstract painting where paint is randomly splashed, poured, or dripped onto the canvas. “The canvas is laid out on the floor instead of up on an easel, and the artist walks around the canvas throwing paint onto it.” The final product results in fun and fascinating patterns.

Here is an example of one of my artworks done using the “action painting” technique.

Krajicek really likes the way paint looks wet versus dry, so he experimented with ways to capture and freeze the wet look. He tried spraying glass varnish on the paint while it was wet. “Typically artists use glass varnish as an after effect to preserve the painting, not as an active part of the medium. Other artists and critics said I couldn’t spray the wet paint with varnish, but I did it anyway.” One of the things that I find most unique about the wet varnish technique is that it creates a different look every time.

My favorite pieces in the exhibit are Krajicek’s Rise Above series (above). These pieces utilize the wet varnish technique and they represent an attempt to “rise above rules, expectations, and doubts.”

Krajicek is also a talented musician. Music has always been a part of his life, and he said he actually feels more accomplished as a musician. “Music always comes first,” Krajicek said. “Music encompasses more of a communal aspect. You are out and about more, and you have more opportunities to collaborate with band members and other musicians. Painting is a solitary enterprise, while in music you can sell CDs, play live music, and attend concerts. Similarly, music is more portable because it doesn’t just have to sit in one space like art hung on a wall.”

Krajicek is a member of the local band Leavenworth, which is in the process of creating their first record.

Leavenworth will be having a CD release party on September 24 at the Grand Stafford Theater. Krajicek relates the songwriting process to art in that both stem from his inner drive to create. “Art and music share similarities in the creative flow of ideas in a free space. They involve taking a force within yourself and turning it into a product. Painting and music are both forms of expression, creation, and mystery.”

Make sure you take some time to swing by the SEAD Gallery to see this awesome exhibit!


Staff Spotlight: Katie Paschal

Katie Paschal is new Destination Servicing Director at the Bryan College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau. As a Texas A&M grad, she jumped at the opportunity to stay Aggieland. She now helps the CVB provide top-notch customer service to visitors and makes sure that guests experience the camaraderie that Aggieland is known for. Here is a little about Katie. Give her a call for any servicing needs or assistance during your stay in BCS.

Katie Pics

Who is Katie Paschal (where are you from, college, major, any other background info)?

I was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up there until my family and I moved to Brenham when I was in 8th grade. I graduated from Brenham High School in 2012. I lived at home my freshman year of college and attended Blinn in Brenham. I transferred to Texas A&M my sophomore year, and recently graduated in May with a degree in Agribusiness. I worked part-time for the CVB for about a month until I graduated and started working full-time.

What do you enjoy about Bryan College Station, Texas?

My favorite part about Bryan College Station is the hospitality here. BCS is rapidly growing, but the friendliness amongst members of the community remains the same no matter how large it becomes. I knew I wanted to stay here once I attended Texas A&M because I loved the welcoming environment so much.

Favorite memories from Texas A&M University?

One of my favorite memories from Texas A&M was when I received my Aggie Ring. My mom was the one who placed my Aggie Ring on my finger (we both tried to hold back tears – of joy of course!). I am the first Texas A&M graduate in my family. The Aggie Network is so remarkable and it exemplifies the power of the Aggie Ring. Later that evening, I had my ring dunk with my roommates at our house. It was such a fun day celebrating with family and friends. My first Midnight Yell was on September 13, 2013, which was the night before the Alabama game. Drake was supposed to come that night as well, but he didn’t show up. However, it didn’t put a damper on the night because when 40,000 Aggies yelled the Aggie War Hymn at the top of their lungs, everyone had forgotten about his supposed appearance. It was amazing to see the spirit of Aggieland come together.  It was an eye-opening experience and something that will always stick out in my mind from my time at Texas A&M.

Katie 2
My mom and I when I received my Aggie Ring!

What do you think is the most meaningful part of your job?

I reach out to groups that will be coming to Bryan College Station and assist them with services we provide. We want to make sure groups have great experiences and return in the near future to Bryan College Station. Servicing is important because you are finding ways to go the extra mile in welcoming visitors and providing great hospitality which makes an impact on them.

What do you do in your off time?

During my off time I love to workout as much as I can. I recently joined CrossFit in College Station and absolutely love it! I did CrossFit two years ago in Brenham for the summer, but when I returned to College Station, I just went to the TAMU Student Recreation Center for the rest of school. CrossFit pushes me outside of my comfort zone to do workouts I normally wouldn’t even consider trying by myself in the gym.

Katie 3

Working in the tourism industry, where would you love to go?

I have always wanted to go to Hawaii. I have heard it is absolutely beautiful and the weather is perfect. It would also be neat to get a sense of Hawaii’s culture and just be able to see the sheer beauty of the islands. There is so much to do and see. The beaches are some of the best in the world.

A couple of interesting facts or memories:

-I am a Chick-Fil-A addict

– I am an avid Bachelor/Bachelorette fan (team Jordan!)

– My favorite store is Lululemon Athletica. Luckily we just got one.

– I love the sun and getting outside. I would love to be at the beach right now

-I have one brother and he is a sophomore at Texas A&M University

Guest Blog: Pokémon GO in BCS

This week we welcome our first BCS guest blogger! Quinten Smith is an English teacher, self-proclaimed nerd, and Pokémon expert. Smith began his quest to catch ’em all in 1998 in his living room while watching the premiere of the Pokémon TV series. The day that he graduated second grade (circa 1999), his mom gave him a Game Boy Color with Pokémon Blue and the rest was history. 


Howdy, Trainers!

Pokémon GO has struck the world as the latest global phenomenon that is sweeping the country and, with the game available in over 30 countries by now, it has cemented itself as one of the most popular mobile games in history.
Bearing all of that in mind, this post is designed to help you, the average Pokémon GO trainer living in the Bryan College Station area, along with some great tips if you’re just now starting, or if you’ve been trying to be the very best, like no one ever was, for the past two weeks.
If you are a fan of Jigglypuff, then this is the place for you. Walking around for an hour resulted in enough candy to form Adele, my nicknamed Wigglytuff which served as the cornerstone of my team for quite some time. Aside from the rare Pokémon you can encounter, the park is loaded with Pokéstops in very convenient loops, so you can run your circuits while loading up on those precious pokéballs.
A wild Pidgey in Dowtown Bryan.
In terms of urban areas in the BCS region, it doesn’t get better than the hustle and bustle of Downtown Bryan. For the past two weeks I haven’t been able to travel around downtown without seeing trainers fighting over the Carnegie Library Gym and taking advantage of the La Salle Hotel double Pokéstops at any hour of the day or night. The popular Pokémon Scyther is known for appearing in this area along with Oddish, Staryu, and a lot of Eevee. Restaurants and shops will have lures around so you can browse and grab a bite while you are trying to catch them all.
This is me after catching Hitmonlee at Kyle Field.
The developers of the app have stated in interviews that the more players in an area, the better chance of a rare Pokémon spawn, and you won’t find a more dense area of players than the heart of Aggieland. Ghastly, Haunter, Abra, and the infamous Snorlax have all shown up while students have been attending summer classes and going on their campus walks. Take some time to soak in the wonderful tradition and history of one of the country’s most illustrious college campuses while adding a few newbies to your Pokédex.
If there is one place in the BCS area to hunt for Pokémon, it’s WPC park. Boasting two great circuits for Pokéstops and more Magikarp than you can shake a stick at, you will love running into trainers at any hour of the day trying to get enough candies for the most sought-after Gyrados. Water types, such as Goldeen, Poliwag, Squirtle; grass types like Oddish, Bulbasaur, Bellsprout; and the pseudolegendary Dratini and Dragonair have all made appearances to players walking around the creek or relaxing along the amphitheater hillside. Many businesses in BCS have devoted their time and delicious resources to the hungry and thirsty trainers that congregate there in the evenings, most times for free, so bring your incubators and your appetite and be prepared to make new friends at the current Aggieland hotspot for trainers.
Before you grab your water bottle and your sunglasses, check these quick tips that any trainer can appreciate:
It’s no use driving for 15 minutes only to be disappointed that the game is not working, so boot up the app before you leave. Alternatively, you can go to this website and it will check for you.
As previously stated in the post, the more people you have with you, the greater the cellphone traffic and the greater chance you have of more Pokémon appearing in your area, so don’t hesitate to bring anyone you know who plays with you. Anyone can catch the Pokémon that spawns in an area; it is not a first come first serve type of game.
The little bird may be the most annoying Pokémon in the game, but every time you catch one, that’s 100XP AND 3 candies. As you get to the higher levels, it will seem like a difficult grind to progress in the game. However, if you save up all the pidgeys you catch along with a couple lucky eggs, then you can spend the 30-minute period evolving all of your pidgeys, netting you 1000XP for every evolution during the effect of the lucky egg. (Note: this also works with Caterpie and Weedle, since all three Pokémon only require 12 candies for their first evolution)
The items that attracts Pokémon to you specifically is a pretty rare item, but once you activate one, start moving, because once that happens, you should see Pokémon appear next to you every minute or so, and once they spawn, they’ll stay there for about 15 minutes before it goes away and is replaced with something else (Note: This is the case for all Pokémon spawns in the game ****They’ll be in an area for about 15 minutes, and then the spawns change again****)
Continue to enjoy the game! Remember that this game was designed for exploration, camaraderie, and, more than anything, exercise. So don’t be afraid to sweat to find that Pikachu. So grab your external battery pack, some water, and turn your phone to low power mode. I’ll see you out there trainers!
Until the servers die again,
Mr. Smith

Tarzan: Myth & Mystery

The newest offering from the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History is the Tarzan: Myth & Mystery exhibit. This exciting exhibit showcases a wonderful collection of Tarzan and Edgar Rice Burroughs memorabilia ranging from original artwork, to rare books, and unique film posters. Visitors can explore the natural settings of the Tarzan stories, the life of author Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the world of pulp art. CVB intern, Keefer took a trip to the Museum to tour the exhibit!


Last week, I made a trip to the Tarzan: Myth & Mystery exhibit. I was greeted at the front by an energetic, helpful young lady named Tatum. I walked my way around the exhibit taking pictures and I marveled at the stunning taxidermy animals. They look so vicious and realistic. It really made me feel like I was immersed in the Tarzan jungle setting of Africa.


I was blown away by the attention to detail put into setting up the display cases full of one-of-a-kind memorabilia. I had no idea how popular Tarzan has been throughout the years since Edgar Rice Burroughs introduced the character in 1912. As you walk through the exhibit, you pass by a background of Tarzan that describes how the character came to life. You also learn about the life of author, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and what inspired him to create Tarzan.

This is the publication that started it all; “Tarzan of the Apes” in The-All Story Magazine represents the first appearance of the Tarzan character in October 1912.

The Tarzan: Myth & Mystery exhibit transitions to a focus on the setting, geography, and animals represented in Tarzan literature. The exhibit includes everything you could think of relating to Tarzan, including the many actors who have portrayed Tarzan, the biggest Tarzan films, various Tarzan comic strips, books, and countless valuable pieces of memorabilia. It even touches on national controversy that arose from Tarzan in the mid 1920s.

My favorite piece in the exhibit is an artwork titled “Tarzan and the Golden Lion” by J. Allen St. John. The vibrant colors and figure shading are quite impressive.

Tarzan is such a riveting story because Burroughs wrote it in rebuttal to the developing industrial age where men were moving to the major cities en masse. The original Tarzan film was one of the first six silent films to gross over one million dollars. Tarzan is the most filmed character in motion picture history, and has been featured in over fifty major motion pictures, 6 television series, two Broadway stage productions, and thousands of publications and licensed products. The timing of this exhibit is great because of the new The Legend of Tarzan movie out in theaters now. If you plan on heading to the cinema to watch the movie, be sure to stop by the Tarzan: Myth & Mystery exhibit first for an interactive experience.

The Tarzan concept has changed and varied over time, but a universal Tarzan image has lasted through generations. Everyone needs to go experience the Tarzan: Myth & Mystery exhibit because the Tarzan stories are multi-national. Tarzan has captured peoples’ imaginations worldwide. The character of Tarzan speaks to people of all ages at all times.

This is a display case with Tarzan novels translated into several different languages, showing how the character extends beyond the American culture.

The Tarzan: Myth & Mystery exhibit is important to me personally because Tarzan was such a huge part of my childhood. I was one of those kids who ran around the neighborhood shirtless attempting the Tarzan yell. The adventurous jungle man theme hits home with me because my father was born and raised in the jungles of Peru. He embodies the symbol of a wholesome, kind-hearted, heroic man in touch with nature, much like that of Tarzan.

My dad was born in Yarinacocha, Peru and he grew up among the people of the Capanahua Indian tribe. This is my dad rocking jorts while hunting and gathering in the jungles of Peru.

In my time spent at the Tarzan: Myth & Mystery exhibit, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to talk with Dr. Deborah Cowman, Executive Director of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History. She was so enthusiastic and passionate about how all of the rare pieces of Tarzan memorabilia have come together to form such an unparalleled exhibit. This is the first and potentially the last time all of these unique Tarzan related pieces will be together in one place. Everyone should take a trip on down to the Tarzan: Myth and Mystery exhibit before it leaves on October 29, 2016!