Visitors to the 8th Annual International Food Festival will have the opportunity to experience the taste of different foods varying from Indian to Mexican cuisine. This year's theme is "Caribbean Nights" and is sponsored by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.

The food festival will give exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their specialty food items and their restaurant. Over 40 restaurants will be at the McAllen Convention Center on Thursday Feb. 26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. People will be able to line up in different booths and taste sample portions of main course items such as prime rib, shrimp, Mexican food, pasta, coffee, and desserts.

Restaurants such as Taste of India, La Mexicana, Tony Romas, Carinos Italian Grill and Outback Steakhouse will give out food samples to visitors. Valley Coca-Cola Company and L&F Distributors will be onsite as well.

Teresa Rodriguez, Vice President of Community Development and Inter-American Relations at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce said the food festival began when Chamber of commerce officials from Ciudad Victoria, Mexucim and McAllen discussed the idea of starting a food festival in the area.

"We wanted a food festival with our border towns," she said.

This year, to celebrate the sister relationship between the City of Victoria, the Mayor of McAllen Richard Cortez and Arturo DÃ-ez Gutiérrez will be present at the food festival.

Entertainment will be provided by "Windsor," a local band and will be entertaining the crowds with Caribbean, salsa and reggae music. Dancers from local dance academies will also perform different Caribbean dances.

"This event is about different restaurants coming together and showcasing their food to the public," said Anita Saldana, Administrative Assistant at the Chamber of Commerce.

Each exhibitor is encouraged to decorate their booths and compete for the Best Booth Display Award; a panel of judges will be judging each booth for the "Best Booth Display Award."

Tickets will be $15, free admission for children under 10 years old. For more information contact the Chamber of Commerce at 956-682-2871.