The last weekend in October is usually for Halloween parties and haunted houses, but for college football fans, the weekend is saved for one of the largest rivalries in college football – the Georgia/Florida game between the Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators.
Dubbed the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” – complete with massive tailgates and even bigger crowds – the Georgia/Florida game is one of the most attractive match-ups in the Southeastern Conference.
The game is traditionally held in Jacksonville, Fla. at EverBank Field, serving as a neutral site for the two teams and will be on Oct. 31.
If you’re planning on making the trip to Jacksonville next week, here’s your guide to getting the most out of your trip:
If You Are Attending the Game
Snagging tickets to a UGA game can be a pain if you’re not familiar with how “the system” works. Applications for the GA/FL game are typically available during the single and away game ordering period during March, according to the Georgia Athletics website. In order to qualify for single and away game tickets, you don’t have to be a season ticket holder but you must at least be a Hartman Fund contributor. The Hartman Fund ticket selection process is based on priority points, which is equivalent to one point per dollar given to the Hartman Fund over a donor’s lifetime. For 2014, the cutoff for regular tickets for the game against Florida was 9,633 cumulative points. Cumulative priority point cutoffs vary year to year.
StubHub!, Georgia Athletics’ partner for the ‘Official Fan to Fan Ticket Marketplace’ of the Georgia Bulldogs, also offers tickets to this coveted game. Many tickets are listed at face value but buying more than one ticket will be your best option for the cheapest option. Choosing StubHub! for ticket purchases is completely legal and allows fans many advantages such as no direct contact between buyers or sellers and an instant download option that lets buyers receive tickets immediately and frees sellers from worrying about shipping.
People who aren’t lucky enough to get selected through the university’s official alternatives usually consult the next best options: Facebook or scalpers. Scalpers are no stranger to UGA games and are a dime, a dozen outside of EverBank Field. The prices fluctuate yearly, based on how well each team is ranked by the day of the game. Take precaution though, scalpers have gotten much better with counterfeiting tickets and can be very convincing to the unsuspecting game goer. Facebook has also become a form of ‘e-scalping’ for high profile games like Georgia vs. Florida. From a quick Facebook search of the words ‘uga tickets’, several groups popped up, including buy-sell-trade options and a ticket exchange option. Beware – sellers are known to increase ticket prices extensively through this option. Georgia law does allow a person who buys a ticket to sell it for a profit and if they want to sell it on a game day on the street, must do so at least 2,700 feet away from the arena.
If You Are Not Attending the Game
If you’re going to be in Jacksonville but not physically attending the game, tailgating and watch parties can be just as fun.
This game isn’t called the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” for nothing. It’s almost impossible to find a lot within a mile – or five – of the stadium that isn’t being used for tailgating. Nooks and crannies throughout downtown Jacksonville fill with tents and RVs of Dawg and Gator fans partying before and during the big event. If you happen to be walking towards the stadium, you’ll more than likely encounter each team’s fans, which can make for a fun stroll especially if “spirits” are high. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, lots open at 6 a.m. on game day and they anticipate the general public parking in the Sports Complex area will fill up five hours prior to kickoff, which would be around 10:30 a.m. for this year’s 3:30 p.m. kickoff. The stadium gates open to the public at 1:30 p.m. RV parking, however, is available on a first come, first serve basis starting on October 29 at 8:00 a.m.
The Jacksonville Landing, www.jacksonvillelanding.com
Offering an amazing view of the St. Johns River, The Landing is the premiere spot for shopping, dining and partying – all in one place. Complete with local shopping retailers, restaurants like Benny’s Steak & Seafood and Chicago Pizza and Sports Grille, and a country, rock ‘n’ roll night club, the Landing is the good location to party from day-to-night. The Landing is centrally located in downtown Jacksonville and serves as the perfect celebrations for the weekend. According to its site, the Landing has scheduled entertainment to appeal to fans of all ages throughout the property. There will be live music, DJs, dance parties and an annual Kickoff party at VooDoo Ultra Lounge. (http://www.jacksonvillelanding.com/events/floridageorgia-celebration-1?on=2015-10-30#.Vi6Dw7erTct – using this in Medley)
Touchdown Showdown, www.makeascenedowntown
If you don’t have a tailgate of your own, the city of Jacksonville gladly invites you to a free watch party outside of EverBank Field’s south end zone called the Touchdown Showdown. Starting at 10 a.m. and lasting until the end of the game, this event is filled with jumbo screens, vendors and interactive games. Students, alumni, and fans without tickets tend to populate this area to enjoy the game. Alcohol isn’t permitted inside this area and bags are checked at the entrances.
— By Brianna Watts, Special for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution