JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Downtown Jacksonville will close out 2016 with an expanded lineup of events connected to the 72nd annual TaxSlayer Bowl. The New Year’s Eve matchup between Kentucky and Georgia Tech takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday at EverBank Field, and there's a wave of activity leading up to and following the game.
The festivities begin Friday with the VyStar 5k run at 2 p.m., followed by pep rallies for both schools. Georgia Tech’s pep rally begins at 3:30 p.m. at the Jacksonville Landing, followed by Kentucky’s at 6 p.m. The entertainment continues into the evening with the 32nd Annual Community First Jacksonville Light Boat Parade, which begins at 7 p.m. downtown on the St. Johns River, followed by the Holiday Fireworks Spectacular.
With the 11 a.m. kickoff, people attending the game area should arrive early as about 50,000 people are expected to attend, and traffic patterns will change before, during and following the game.
"The time of kick off is really irrelevant. The entire process will work, but it is based on the public's compliance," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Chief Leonard Propper said. "If they come between 8 and 9, (it will be a) seamless transition. If they want to come at 10:30 and think they can walk in at 11, that might be problematic."
Fans attending the TaxSlayer Bowl Saturday should note that all entrants will be required to enter the gates through a metal detector. No food or drink will be permitted from outside of the stadium. The NFL clear bag policy will be in place for the TaxSlayer Bowl. Complimentary clear bags are available at all fan information Booths and will call locations. Any bags measuring 12x6x12 or smaller may be carried into the facility. Ticket holders are permitted to bring seat cushions and blankets inside.
Tickets to the TaxSlayer Bowl are available at TaxSlayerBowl.com. Parking is available on game day for $25 cash in Lots H, V, W, X, Y, Z and XX. Stadium lots will open at 7 a.m.
A drop-off area will be available on the west side of the stadium on game day for persons with disabilities. Patrons should enter Lot M to access the drop-off area.
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is offering the Gameday Xpress for the game. Parking is complimentary in one of several convenient lots, with direct routes to the stadium. Shuttle passes will be available on-site for purchase. The Gameday Xpress will begin at 8 a.m. and continues until one hour after the game.
Downtown locations ($7 shuttle pass):
- Convention Center Lot: 1005 Forsyth Street
- Kings Avenue Parking Garage: 1003 Kings Avenue
- The Jacksonville Landing: Hogan Street between Water and Bay (shuttle service only)
Suburban locations ($12 shuttle pass):
- Beaches Lot: Little League (Wingate) Park, 277 Penman Road S.
- Southside Lot (JTB): 7020 Philips Highway
The Skyway will operate on New Year’s Eve (Saturday) from 8 a.m. until 3 a.m. and will have extended hours Friday, Dec. 30, until 2 a.m.
The St. John’s River Taxi is offering extended hours for the TaxSlayer Bowl. The River Taxi will be available on game day beginning at 8 a.m. and will continue until 12:30 a.m. TaxSlayer Bowl Round-trip Stadium Service is available for $10 cash per person. The TaxSlayer Bowl All Day Unlimited Pass (all stops) is $20 cash per person. Visit rivertaxiandtours.com for additional information.
Following the game, 2016 Country Music AssociationVocal Duo of the Year, Brothers Osborne, will headline the first-ever NYE Bowl Bash concert. The free outdoor concert, produced by AGS, will take place in the streets of downtown Jacksonville with the stage located at the intersection of Ocean and Forsyth streets. The concert will kick off at 4 p.m. and include performances by Brett Young, Maggie Rose, Tyler Hammond, Jordan Davis, Josh Phillips, Lockhart and DJ E.L.
VIP Area tickets for the event, which will include complimentary beer, wine and soda, are available at NYEbowlbash.com.