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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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Fraternity builds add unique flair to Chilifest

Aggieland+prepares+for+30%2C000+participants+at+the+24th+annual+Chilifest+Thursday.
Photo by Olivia Adam

Aggieland prepares for 30,000 participants at the 24th annual Chilifest Thursday.

Twenty-four years ago, six Texas A&M students held the first annual Chilifest in the parking lot of a local Walmart. This year, more than  30,000 people are expected to attend the popular event in Snook.

The 2015 Chilifest will feature performances by the Eli Young Band, Eric Chase and the Josh Abbott Band among others. Tyler Luxion, Chilifest chairman and accounting  senior, said after a conversation on Twitter, Josh Abbott Band will keep a camel back stage, adding to the random collection of things to be found at Chilifest.

Among the concerts and copious amount of beer, visitors can see the unique structures, called builds, fraternities and other groups create every year.

 “Every year the fraternities come out and they make their own separate builds,” said Zach Douma, vice president of operations for Chilifest and junior finance major. “There is actually a build competition that is decided on Saturday by the Chilifest judges to determine who had the best looking build.”

This year, there are 12,558 people registered on teams for Chilifest, said Luxion.
“We have 15 fraternities competing this year, and that is not including other men’s organizations like Ol’ Ags, Iron Spikes and One Army,” Luxion said.
These groups compete against each other in order to see who has the most creative builds, Douma said.
“On Saturday the Chilifest judges come together and determine the top three builds,” Douma said. “There are cash prizes for all the winners.”
The end result shows how much time and effort each
organization puts into their build, Luxion said.
“I would say some probably spend a full semester build- ing,” Luxion said. “Others, maybe a month or three weeks

depending on how it’s structured.”
Collin McCaskill, finance junior and president of the

A&M chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, said SAE starts its- build for Chilifest six weeks in advance, employing 20- 30 fraternity members to work on it each weekday night. McCaskill said the actual set-up does not happen until the Friday of Chilifest.
Last year visitors could see builds modeled after the Texas State Fair, NASCAR, and a pirate ship, Douma said.
“As the years go by, we get crazier and crazier questions as to whether we can have running moats in the area or if they can bring in actual boats inside their build,” Douma said.
In the past they have had people ask about swimming pools, animals, a horse and even a camel, Luxion said.

“It is getting crazier and crazier,” Douma said. “But it is really cool because at the end of the day on Saturday you can look out and see all these different builds that are all
unique in their own way.”
Proceeds from Chilifest go toward promoting education-

al opportunities to low-income children in Brazos Valley. “There is a connotation that Chilifest is an avenue for drinking and partying, and to have a lawless weekend, but I really like to center the focus on where the proceeds go,” Luxion said. “This year we are on track to hit the 2.5 mil- lion mark since we first started, and that is really exciting for us to be able to do that as six full-time A&M students.” Chilifest will happen on Friday and Saturday in Snook, Texas. Tickets are available online as well as at the gate of
the event. 
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