Law enforcement agencies are on high alert as thousands of people are converging on Burleson County this weekend for the 21st annual Chilifest. The Texas Country music event and chili cook-off raises $200,000 for area non-profit organizations, but authorities are enforcing a no-refusal weekend to make sure the party doesn't make it on to the roadways.
The population in the town of Snook is going to increase by nearly 40,000 this weekend for one of the biggest pasture parties around.
"We're just excited to have a good time this weekend," said Andre Arizpe, a student at Texas A&M.
Crews spent Friday morning putting on the final touches.
"It's a great time to come hang out with all of your buddies and listen to some good Texas Country music,” said Cody Cravens, a student at Texas A&M.
Thousands of young adults and college students will consume alcohol this weekend at the event. It’s the laid back atmosphere that most say they enjoy.
"Sit around and share a few beers with your friends and have some good times,” said Paul Boehm, a student at Texas A&M.
Law enforcement officers are standing by if those good times get out of hand. Dozens of state troopers will line the roads around the Chilifest Grounds near F.M. 60 looking for intoxicated drivers.
"They'll be looking for traffic violations. There are certain violations that are indicative of a drunk driver,” said Officer Rhonda Seaton, with the College Station Police Department.
Law enforcement agencies from across the state are participating in the no-refusal weekend. If a DWI arrest is made, the suspect will be asked to give a sample of their breath or blood in order to determine the alcohol concentration or presence of a controlled substance or drug in their body. If the suspect refuses to provide a sample of breath or blood, a warrant may be sought for a blood sample from the suspect.
"We're actually going to have a phlebotomist at the police department. We will have magistrates on standby,” said Seaton.
While Chilifest is one of the biggest parties in Texas, it's also one of the biggest fundraisers for local non-profit organizations.
"We always try and set a goal around $200,000 so hopefully we can get there. Last year we were at $195,000. So we got close, but that's our goal,” said Matt Smith, Director of Chilifest 2012.
Burleson County ‘Go Texan’ is one of several organizations that receive proceeds from Chilifest. The proceeds give area high school students scholarships to pay for college.
"Some think it's just a big party, but if you're really hear and you really see the true meaning of Chilifest and don't just look for the negative. I don't care what you're doing you can always find the negative, but if you search for the heart and the true meaning of it, it's all for good. There are so many people that benefit from it. How could you ever have a negative word about something so phenomenal,” said Sherry Hooper, Burleson County Go Texan Volunteer.
In addition, there will be a shuttle service operating from the Tejas Center at Texas Avenue and Villa Maria in Bryan to provide transportation to the Chilifest event. Limited parking will be available behind the Whataburger located in the shopping center. Buses will be running beginning at 9 AM on Saturday, April 14th to help Chilifest attendees get to and from Chilifest safely and will run to and from the event until 8 PM. Taxi cabs will be available from the Tejas Center to your final destination. Taxi cab fees will apply.
Friday, April 13, 2012 Chilifest welcomes to the stage at the Starlight Ballroom in Snook, Texas:
• Six Market Boulevard
• Ryan Beaver
• Johnny Cooper
• The Dirty River Boys
• Cody Johnson
• Cory Morrow
(NOT OPEN TO PUBLIC ON FRIDAY, ONLY FOR CHILIFEST TEAMS) Doors open at noon for Chilifest Teams and VIP’s and ends at 11:15 p.m. Gates close at midnight.
Saturday night’s entertainment:
• Billy Currington
• Pat Green
• Randy Rogers Band
• Josh Abbott Band
• Sunny Sweeney