Texas Tech GatorFest, feat. Kyle Parks, benefits YWCA

23 September

ZETA ETA (Texas Tech)—The 500-foot block of bricked road between One Guy from Italy’s pizza parlor and Tully’s Corner Store on Main Street was blocked off Friday night as Alpha Tau Omega hosted their fourth annual GatorFest benefit concert, where country singer Kyle Parks headlined for the evening.

In accordance with the name of the event, fried alligator was available from an on-scene taco truck.

Will Owen, a senior restaurant, hotel and institutional management major from Plano, served as one of two co-chairmen for the evening within the ATO organization. The other co-chairman was Dillon Mercer, a sophomore finance major from Coppell.

“It’s really just an event to introduce all of our incoming freshmen and some of the parents, since we normally do it on parent’s weekend, to a little bit of Texas Tech, a little bit of Texas Tech style,” Owen said. “It’s a good time for people to come out. It’s after the first week of tests, so it’s a good time for them to come out and have a little fun.”

The event served as a benefit for the Young Women’s Christian Association, an organization, according to their website, dedicated to helping women advance their personal careers and goals by offering resources to women in the community. The organization also offers child care for mothers who work and cannot afford traditional day care.

Last year’s Gatorfest concert saw an estimated 1,000 attendees, and organizers for Friday’s event saw a similar estimated 1,200 tickets sold.

“I want it to be as equally as big as Kalf Fry, but better,” Mercer said. “I want it to be like a long-lasting, continuous event.”

Ryan Kilemer served as production manager for the event. Kilemer graduated from Tech in 2001 with a business degree and has been in the music business for 17 years. He has toured with bands such as Blue October, Bowling for Soup and Nickelback.

“I helped them with the details,” he said. “It helps the event run smoothly when you have someone with the experience versus new guys every year. Luckily Will was back again this year which made it even smoother, but for a fraternity that doesn’t know how to throw a concert or an event like this, you know, there’s a lot of mistakes and people get upset, but hiring a professional that does it for a living makes the event more legitimate for the artist and the people on that end. Everything has been top-notch professional from sound to loading time to coordination and communication.”

Kilemer said he also would like to see the event turn into a self-funding function where the members of ATO would not have to use money from other fundraising events to pay for the Gatorfest concert.

Bash Riprocks sponsored the event by providing access to the bar for those attending the event, as well as serving drinks to those on the street during the concert.

Owner Mike Fuqua said when the members of ATO contacted him to see what partnership they could develop, he was more than willing to help them out.

After seeing the dedication of ATO members, he said he will continue to support the event.

“I call them the ‘Men of ATO,’” he said. “I think it signifies a respect that they really deserve.”

*Original article credited to DailyToreador.com: http://go.ato.org/16lwXNS

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