Fans enjoy after-party at Jacksonville Landing
Estimated 200k visit downtown area for Saturday's Fla.-Ga. game
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The game may be over, but the party was still on Saturday night at the Jacksonville Landing.
The Florida Gators lost to the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field on Saturday, but tens of thousands of fans from both sides were still out in the evening enjoying the festivities.
"It's been great to see the restaurants are full, the other establishments are full and just overall downtown, you don't always see that much activity, so this is awesome," said Jonathan Hanson.
It's estimated there were 200,000 people in the downtown area for the game, bringing in as much as $24 million to the local economy. A lot of that money was being spent at the Landing.
The view from the stage shows an endless supply of football fans, as many came from the game, and others just for the party.
Jacksonville Landing workers said it's one of the three largest events they host all year. Tens of thousands were not just in the courtyard, but in the restaurants and bars. Places like Benny's Seafood and Steaks said it's big business and all hands are on deck.
"Compared to usual, it's astronomically higher than usual," said manager Belinda Rivera. "There's a lot more people, sales are better, crowd seems great and happy. It's been wonderful so far."
One shop, which had a huge line for its pineapple liquor drinks, sold out.
"We ran out and we're waiting for a truck to come to bring more," said bar owner Elmir Slavic. "We ran out."
But not everyone was raking in the big bucks, as two people outside the Landing said their shirts and hats sales were a little slower than they had hoped and expected.
"It wasn't really as packed as we heard it would be," said Tevaris Shaw. "It's a little disappointing."
However, the T-shirt vendor said they're still making a profit, and the party is going to continue until early Sunday morning actually. Because of the time change at 2 a.m., the Landing will be open to parties an extra hour, which has police and firefighters on high alert as they make sure the experience is safe and peaceful.
"It's a very big deal and there's a lot of people there so we want to make sure everyone is safe and comfortable, but they also have fun," said Samantha Collins.
Fans seemed pleased, as some of them told Channel 4 that the whole experience has been a blast, but they feel it hasn't gotten out of hand.
"Wasn't too many fights, I've had a great time out here," said Richie Copeland. "I've enjoyed it."
Florida-Georgia fans swarm the Landing
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