Crowds expected for busy weekend in Jacksonville

By Francine Frazier - Senior web editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Saturday is going to be a busy day in Downtown Jacksonville.

City officials estimate hundreds of thousands of people will come out for festivities and events, including an international soccer match, a Sharks game, a Suns game, fireworks and powerboat races.

Anticipating extra traffic, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office wanted drivers to be aware of some traffic patterns the police have laid out:

  • Before the soccer game, Bay Street will be two lanes eastbound and two lanes westbound
  • After the game, Gator Bowl Boulevard at Festival Way will be one-way northbound, starting at 7 p.m.
  • Also starting at 7, Bay Street and Gator Bowl Boulevard starting at Lot J will be one way westbound

JSO also released suggestions for the best places around the Sports Complex to park for various events (see map below).

The Jacksonville Sharks game at the Veterans Memorial Arena begins at 3 p.m. JSO said the best parking places for that event are the Arena parking garages or Lots J, X or Z.

The Suns play at 3:05 p.m. at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, and JSO recommends fans park in Lots P or X.

The U.S. national soccer team will face off with Nigeria in a game at EverBank Field at 6 p.m. There will be a soccer festival at EverBank from 3 to 6 p.m. JSO recommends the Sports Complex parking area for the soccer game, and fans are encouraged to arrive early because of the overlapping events in the area.

Also happening this weekend are the the SuperStock USA Championship powerboat races and a fireworks show — both on the St. Johns River.

Spectators for the powerboat races, which will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, can watch the action from Memorial Park in Riverside for free.

The fireworks show is the first in the city's Summer of Lights series and is scheduled to begin at 9:45 p.m. Spectators can watch the fireworks from the Northbank Riverwalk or at Friendship Fountain on the Southbank.

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