Beneficiaries of the proceeds from this year's Chilifest celebration -- which featured acts such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Reckless Kelly -- were presented with checks Tuesday afternoon at Chimy's restaurant in College Station.
According to organizers, this year's festival raised $161,000 for local charities, nonprofits and service-based organizations. The largest beneficiary of Chilifest was Burleson County Go Texan, which received $25,000. The Burleson County Go Texan Association provides college scholarship money for students living in Burleson County. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Brazos Valley were gifted with $17,000, and Coach Blair Charities received $11,000 in donations.
Snook Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jonathan Collins and his wife accepted an $8,000 check on behalf of the VFD. Collins said the volunteer department has never received a sum this large from any other organization or single effort. Snook VFD has been benefitting from Chilifest since the event's inception, and the fire department depends greatly on that money.
"It's a big help," Collins said. "With it we're able to maintain and upgrade equipment, keeping up with modern technology. We're also able to pay for firefighter training. It's an important part of our income."
Other recipients of the largest amounts of funding included St. Joseph EMS and the Burleson County First Responders, which each received $8,000 in donations. Snook Ag Boosters received $6,000, Big Brothers Big Sisters received $7,000 and Burleson County Fair Association and the Down Syndrome Association each received $4,000.
Over its 26 years, Chilifest has raised more than $3 million for charity. For the past three years, the festivities have lasted for two days, as opposed to just one. With additional features such as the Chilifest Village ticket option, festival hosts are finding new ways to raise money. The 35,000 guests who attended this year brought in enough money to give no less than $1,000 per donation to 36 groups and causes.
Chilifest 2018 is scheduled for April 6-7 in Snook. For more information visit www.chilifest.org.