Big crowds expected for events showcasing Florida-Georgia game

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The festivities will start today at noon with the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Luncheon.

Inside the stadium, Florida Gators legendary running back Ciatrick Fason and defensive back Keiwan Ratliff as well as Georgia Bulldog greats linebacker Thomas Davis and offensive lineman Jon Sitcomb will be enshrined.

Fans will also have a chance to get into the festive spirit with a decorating contest kicking off at 3:30 this afternoon in RV City.

But the rivalry extends past football today. Across the street from TIAA Bank Field, the Gators and Dawgs will square off on the diamond. The fall classic will take place at 121 Financial Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30p.m.

The block party will continue with a concert from Luke Combs later in the night from Vystar Memorial Arena.

It all leads up to Saturday’s NCAA rivalry game between the Gators and Bulldogs at TIAA Bank Field.

Organizers were forced to cancel the ‘Duuuval Bold City Bash’ concert bash yesterday due to potential severe weather.

On Thursday night, Michael Buble took the stage at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Thousands of fans showed up.

Warren Merrill owns That Bar at the Arena, which is next door.

“We’ve been preparing for like three weeks,” Merrill said. “We’ve been buying a lot of liquor and a lot of beer and just getting all ready.”

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Jaydon Hodges, a Georgia fan, regularly attends the annual festivities and was downtown Thursday night.

“I’ve been probably coming here for the past six years, and it’s always a blast,” Hodges said.

The festivities around the matchup were canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Merill says he’s looking forward to the additional business again.

Not surprisingly, fans have packed RV City -- just across from TIAA Bank Field -- in the days leading up to the game.

You’ll find a sea of Florida and Georgia flags.

“We were here in 2019, and COVID kind of put a damper on that in 2020. So now we’re back,” said Clint Letendre, a Florida fan.

For many the weekend is more than a rivalry football game.

“I love the comradery,” one fan said. “For us, it’s become a family reunion.”

About the Authors:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.