The weather has cooled off, so that must mean it’s Florida-Georgia week in Jacksonville.
The annual pilgrimage of Florida Gator and Georgia Bulldog fans is already beginning, days before the two teams battle on the football field.
The party will begin Tuesday morning with the opening of RV City. Most events will get started Friday afternoon.
Here’s what to know:
Before the game, between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Saturday, the lane indicators along Bay Street from Ocean Street to the sports complex will change to allow for three lanes of eastbound traffic and one westbound lane of traffic.
Parking lots around Everbank Stadium will open at 8 a.m. Saturday, and officials are encouraging people to be parked by 10:30 a.m.
People can expect road closures around the sports complex throughout the weekend, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Chief Ellis Burns said road closures include A. Philip Randolph from Gator Bowl Boulevard to Duval Street.
Road closures will begin around the sports complex at least three hours before the gates open at 1:30 p.m., and drivers should expect delays after that, Burns said.
People driving in the area should rely on the six video boards with traffic directions on them instead of GPS, he said.
For live gameday traffic updates, follow the Sheriff’s Office on X (formerly Twitter) at @JSOPIO.
Festivities will get going at noon Friday with the annual Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony featuring Joe Haden and Earnest Graham from Florida and Mark Richt and Terrence Edwards from Georgia. Then events continue at 6:30 Friday night with the Florida-Georgia exhibition baseball game at 121 Financial Ballpark. After the game, there is a 90s-themed concert with Vanilla Ice, Montell Jordan, Young MC and Tone Loc. To end the night, there will be fireworks.
On Saturday, a Florida-Georgia Fan Fare is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the flex field at Daily’s Place. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
If you don’t have a parking pass, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority will also provide its Gameday Express at various locations around Jacksonville. The service runs from 12:30 p.m. until one hour after the game ends. For more information, go to JTA’s Gameday Express webpage.
If you need assistance Saturday, the city of Jacksonville will have six information and first aid zones from noon until 30 minutes after the game ends. At those locations fans will be able to get basic medical help, first aid, cellphone chargers, transportation information, directions, water and more. These are the six locations:
- Lot P – Veterans Memorial Wall
- Lot X – Service Road entrance
- Babe Ruth Statue
- VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, corner of APR & Duval Street
- Lot E – Outside of RV City
- Met Park – In front of the main gate
Future of the game
The annual game is a Jacksonville tradition that dates back to 1933. The game has been played in Jacksonville since then with the exception of two times: in 1994 and 1995, when what we now call Everbank Stadium was being built.
Currently, the game is scheduled to be played here through at least 2025. On top of that, the city and Jacksonville Jaguars are locked in stadium renovation negotiations, which would have an effect on the annual rivalry game.
During a news conference Monday, Mayor Donna Deegan said that based on her conversations with Jaguars President Mark Lamping and Jaguars owner Shad Khan, officials at both universities are excited about the potential for a stadium upgrade.
“So that’s a good thing. As far as negotiations go, you know, that’s always a work in progress, but we are absolutely committed to keeping that game here in Jacksonville and very excited to do so,” Deegan said .
Under current stadium renovation proposals, work would begin in 2025 and the Jaguars would not play in the stadium for two seasons. Jags President Mark Lamping said the team is working to reduce the construction time from two years to one.