Chilifest 2019

Chilifest teams began setting up Friday for this weekend’s festival. 

For 28 years, Chilifest has brought those who love country music, chili and beer together for a two-day party in Snook that benefits more than 30 local organizations in the Brazos Valley.

Chilifest President Hunter Koch says one week after a festival concludes, the organization starts work on the next year’s event, taking fresh experiences and assessing what worked well and what can be improved upon.

“The goal is to always make it better than the year before,” Koch said. “We have a little competition to try and outdo the guy from years past, so it starts off as soon as the event ends and we keep [the planning] going throughout the year. We get to see all of our work come together this weekend in Snook.”

This year, Koch said, they wanted to bring the music festival back to its roots.

On Thursday, The Eagle reported that the organizers wanted to bring the “chili back to Chilifest” with a renewed focus on the namesake for the festival that includes revamping the contest, judging and prize opportunities. The inclusion of an option to pre-purchase alcohol through an official Chilifest vendor was revealed when teams picked up their registration packets in February.

“This was something that we’ve been talking about for a long time, and it is actually how it was run when Chilifest first started,” Koch said. “We have a better idea of everything coming into the event and for the convenience of the patrons as well.”

For Chilifest teams, which Koch said range in size between 15 and 1,200 members, bringing alcohol to the first night of the event is an endeavor that often includes renting or purchasing long trailers to ferry pallets of beer to the festival grounds on top of having to purchase, transport and store it before the event.

“[The presale is] an exciting revival in the event and ... it took off this year. We had teams come out and utilize it, and it took a lot of the weight off their shoulders,” he said. “It’s a great option that people can utilize, and we’ll definitely have it around next year as well.”

Unpredictable weather seems to be another Chilifest tradition, but the organization isn’t too worried despite predictions by the National Weather Service of precipitation chances up to 70%.

Chilifest, Koch said, will go on rain or shine. In the event that there is severe weather, he said that there are plans in place to keep concertgoers and those providing transportation safe, but it would take quite the weather event to cancel the show altogether. Instead, he said, they would pause the show to allow for the severe weather to pass.

“One thing we’ve found is that no matter when Chilifest is, there is a good chance of rain. It’s something that I think some of the patrons have come to embrace being out in the crowd and getting a little shower here and there. A little bit of rain, we’re ready for it, we expect it and we encourage people to come out and enjoy it.”

A single general-admission ticket for today’s concert costs $55.

The entertainment lineup for today includes Kyle Park, Flatland Cavalry, Whiskey Myers, Randy Rogers Band and Cody Jinks. For more information, visit chilifest.org.

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