Chick-fil-A Camping

Chick-fil-A fans set up camp Wednesday, February 19, 2014 outside of Chick-fil-A prior to its grand opening on Thursday in Copperas Cove.

COPPERAS COVE — You’d never know it from the lines, tents and crowds in the parking lot of the new Chick-fil-A location in Copperas Cove on Wednesday, but the grand opening isn’t until 9:30 a.m. today.

“This is my 51st grand opening of a Chick-fil-A,” said Leticia Magallan, of San Antonio. “It began as a way to get away from the husband and family, but now it’s something me and my friends look forward to. I’ve met people at different openings and now we have mini reunions. I’ve made a lot of friends that way. And when I come with them, we split all the costs and the booklet of tickets; it all works out great.”

Magallan and 130 participants showed up in the wee hours of the morning to enter the raffle for the Chick-fil-A 100 Giveaway contest, where 100 lucky participants will win free meals for a year.

Participants must stay at the restaurant for 24 hours in order to win a booklet with 52 tickets that can be used to purchase free meals. Over the 24-hour waiting period, Chick-fil-A hosts games, mini contests and feeds participants breakfast, lunch and dinner; participants also are able to use the restaurant’s restroom facilities.

“My mom flew me out from Pennsylvania just to attend the opening,” Joyce Goudy said. “This is my first one, but she’s been to 16 grand openings from Houston to San Antonio to Wichita Falls.”

“We make it a family event and have picnics and play football,” said Jowanna Bryant, Goudy’s mother. “Chick-fil-A keeps us entertained, too. There will be a live DJ this evening and there’s the frozen T-shirt contest, where a frozen shirt is tied in knots and the first to untie it and put it on wins a sundae or something.”

Deborah Colbert said this is her 15th grand opening experience and she doesn’t mind driving several hours because it’s worth it.

“We save a lot of money,” said Sheron Willard, Colbert’s friend. “Myself and three friends came, and we all got into the drawing, so that’s 52 tickets, and at $7 per meal, that’s close to $900 we’ll save over a year. That’s cool.”

“The thing I like about Chick-fil-A is they’re customer service-oriented and have great food,” said Rachel Delgado, from San Antonio. “They train their staff really well and they remember your name and are so courteous. They make guests feel important.”

“Chick-fil-A stands out from other restaurants so I don’t mind sitting in the cold to win,” Lupe Lerma said. “They hire young people and develop them for future jobs, too. It’s great. And I can use my tickets anywhere there is a Chick-fil-A.”

The new Chick-fil-A is at 202 Robert Griffin III Blvd. | 254-501-7476

Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro | Herald

A journalist by trade, Corinne has written for both the military and civilian populations. She has a Master's in Writing and Bachelor's in English. She is also a military spouse and her family is currently stationed at Fort Hood.

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