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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Chilifest aims to aid local charities

Setting+up+for+Chilifest
Photo by Olivia Adam
Setting up for Chilifest

While many associate this year’s Chilifest with downing cases of beer and performances by the Eli Young Band and Josh Abbott Band, Chilifest organizers say a large part of the event is about raising money for charities.
The first Chilifest started as a fraternity philanthropy concert and chili competition in 1991. It has continued to expanded in venue size, number of attendees and donations. Now in its 24th year, Chilifest Inc. is approaching $2.5 million total dollars in donations to other nonprofits. 
Tyler Luxion, senior accounting major and president of Chilifest, said Chilifest, a 501c (3) nonprofit, took on Miller Lite as its title sponsor in 2000. Since then, Luxion said they have expanded their donations.
“We’re coming up on this $2.5 million mark in donations since inception, hopefully to be achieved if not this year, by our 25th anniversary next year,” Luxion said. 
Luxion said the final count for tickets and sales will be confirmed within the next two weeks.  
Zach Houchins, junior supply chain management major and vice president of volunteer relations for Chilifest, said all proceeds from the event are donated to specific nonprofits in the community based on the charities volunteers at Chilifest are associated with. 
“Everything we do goes back to the community at the end of the year,” Houchins said. “Nobody benefits in it in any way except for our charities. Every dollar you spend out here and before with your ticket goes to a good cause.”
Some of the nonprofits Chilifest serves include the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Down Syndrome Association of Brazos Valley, Children’s Museum, Coach Blair Charities, Go Texan and St. Joseph EMS, Luxion said. 
Luxion said the Chilifest officers calculate how much is donated to each charity based on the total hours worked at Chilifest by volunteers from each organization. 
“We reward volunteers for coming out here and helping out by donating back to their causes,” Luxion said.
This year, Houchins said over 800 volunteered at Chilifest, both for set up and for the actual event. 
“We have volunteers who have been coming out here for 24 years and they’re the backbone of our organization,” Houchins said. “The volunteers are the only thing that keep the event running at the end of the day. We have a lot of people from Burleson County, Snook, Brazos County and all over Texas with Go Texan area organizations.”
While Chilifest is a huge country music festival for the Aggie community, it means so much more for the beneficiaries of the donations, Luxion said. He said the purchase of each ticket eventually ends up improving the lives of people in the community because of how the money is donated.
“A lot of people see it as a lawless, fenced-in oasis in Snook for a weekend where people just come out here and drink — granted they have a good time, but the focus really is where the money goes,” Luxion said.

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