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Chilifest: Big Crowd, Zero Accidents

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More than 32,000 people spent their weekend in Snook.

Chilifest has become an Aggie tradition with plenty of food, music and beer.

But how does the event that encourages drinking, remain safe and popular at the same time?

The grounds of Chilifest have become a wasteland of trash, discarded couches and empty beer cans.

It'll take about a week to clean up, and another year before thousands flock to Snook again.

"Students love to come out here relax, cook, get away for the weekend and listen to country music," says Chilifest Organizer Matt Tidmore.

Tidmore says because drinking at the event is so widespread, every year there's an increase in safety measures: More police, tighter security and only pre-sold beer is allowed through the gate.

"It's helped out a lot, not as many people are driving under the influence which is a good thing," says Tidmore.

Thousands come to Chilifest but there were only 107 arrests this year, which is pretty good considering how much alcohol is involved.

"They've had no choice for the sake of the community," says MADD Administrator Vicki Mercer.

Instead of boycotting the event, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is working with law enforcement and even benefiting.

Chilifest's charitable contributions include MADD.

"When you've have an event like Chilifest, we want to support law enforcement. We can't keep Chilifest from happening, but we can support law enforcement," says Mercer.

Everyone's cooperation seems to be working.

While attendance was slightly down, there were no fatalities, no major accidents and almost the same number of arrests as last year.

"I think Chilifest is going in the right direction. Even though we lost a couple thousand people, we'll push a little harder to do better next year," says Tidmore.