Let the party begin

Published: Thursday, September 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 at 11:01 p.m.
If you have any interest in Gator football whatsoever, you know where you'll be at 6 p.m. Saturday: in your seat in the Swamp or parked in front of Pay Per View, anxiously awaiting the coronation of Coach Urban I.
Three hours of glorious helmet-to-helmet aggression is a fine centerpiece for your weekend, but what should you do with the other 45 hours?
One game, even a double-barrelled Wyoming beatdown, does not a weekend make.
So throw on some orange and blue; here are some pigskin-flavored events.
  • Unless you have front-row seats behind the Gator bench, your best shot at getting within smelling distance of the new head Gator is to attend the "Urban Meyer Hotline Show," live from Beef O'Brady's at 1999 NW 43rd St.
    The live call-in show airs on the Gator Radio Network all across the Gator Nation. Call 338-7771 for information.
  • Black Alumni Weekend gets underway Friday. This year's theme is "Strong Roots, Strong Future." Events will take place all weekend, including a dance, sponsored by the New Magic 101.3-FM, at Emerson Alumni Hall, 1938 W. University Ave. The event runs 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.
  • Can't wait until Saturday to start screaming at the zebras? Check out some hard-hitting high school football Friday night. Two big games: Columbia visits Buchholz, and rivals Chiefland and Williston face off on Red Devils' home turf.
  • The Florida Women's Volleyball team takes the floor at the Aquafina Volleyball Tournament Friday and Saturday at the O'Connell Center. The Gators open up against Dayton at noon Friday.
  • It'll be all marching bands on Saturday, but Friday night offers a little jazz. Check out the Fusion Band for free at the Downtown Community Plaza. Music starts at 8 p.m.
  • The big game doesn't get underway until 6 p.m., leaving plenty of time for tailgating. The UF Alumni Association will host the Ultimate Tailgate Experience three hours prior to kickoff (3 p.m.) in the President's Room at Emerson Alumni Hall, directly across the street from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, 1938 W. University Ave.
    The event includes a visit from Albert, Alberta and the Gator cheerleaders, NCAA football on large-screen TVs, a live broadcast of WRUF's "Huddle with the Gators," food and prizes. These family-friendly events are held before each Gator home game. Admission is $10, free with Alumni Association Membership card. Call 338-7771.
  • As part of Black Alumni Weekend, the ABA Tailgate Party starts at 3 p.m. at the Institute of Black Culture, 1510 W. University Ave.
  • If you don't have tickets but want to get out of the house and share some Gator camaraderie, plenty of Gainesville bars and restaurants will host Gator-themed events, complete with drink specials, football viewing and excessive Urban adulation.
    Kazbor's Sports Grill, for example, will have drink specials, giveaways and special Gator-related themes at each of its three locations around Gainesville. The Gainesville Ale House, 3950 SW Archer Road, will bring in two new 62-inch high-definition flat screen TVs just in time for kickoff, along with drink and food specials.
    Sunday After you've rendered your vocal chords inoperable cheering as the Gators deliver a lopsided buffalo-kickin', you've got a day to recuperate. Watch a little NFL, suck on a throat lozenge, check out some of the many wonders of Gainesville listed in this very publication.
    And remember: It's only 134 hours until next week's tailgate begins.
    After you've rendered your vocal chords inoperable cheering as the Gators deliver a lopsided buffalo-kickin', you've got a day to recuperate.
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