For more than a century, the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs have battled in a storied Southern rivalry. Amelia Island is a popular destination for some college football fans who return year after year. Hotels, beach homes, and B & B’s are booked, Fort Clinch camp sites fill up, and local eateries and bars become crowded with visitors, especially folks from Georgia.
With reasonable proximity to Jacksonville’s Everbank Stadium (about a 35-40 minute drive from Amelia Island, FL), football fans arrive in droves to enjoy the amenities here in Fernandina Beach. This includes lodging before and after game day, plus a wide variety of dining options, festive celebrations at local bars, and spending some time relaxing at the beach.
One can’t go out around the island without seeing team allegiances on display — flags, banners, clothing. If the weather’s nice, folks head to the seashore, where beach umbrellas and sun shelters in red and black will be seen.
Be assured, there are plenty of Florida Gator fans here around northeast Florida and in Fernandina. But the arrivals who come to town for the big game seem to be predominantly Dawgs.
Fans on both sides are in a festive mood, ready to party hearty. Some folks aren’t shy about making loyalty statements. (Pictured below, a “Gator Hater” decorated vehicle photographed near Fernandina’s Main Beach Park).
“World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”
The Florida-Georgia game is legendary, known as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” In Jacksonville, tailgate city opens on Tuesday prior to the Saturday game. This year in 2023, Florida and Georgia will meet on the field Saturday, October 28th with kickoff at 3:30 p.m., televised on CBS.
Each year, more memories are made and traditions continue, rooted around this game. Besides the passing of a football on the field, there’s the passing along of traditions to the kids of today who are absorbing sights, sounds, and their family’s team loyalties. It’s the formation of the next generation of fans who will carry on team allegiances through the second century of the storied Florida-Georgia game.
Also tune in at 10 a.m. on game day to watch the SEC Nation show, broadcasting for two hours from Jacksonville on Sat., October 28, 2023. Florida’s superstar, Tim Tebow is one of the show’s hosts, also with Florida University alumna Laura Rutledge (reporter and host for ESPN and SEC Network), and co-hosts Roman Harper, Jordan Rodgers and Paul Finebaum, on the SEC Network.
This year in 2023, the University of Florida Gators (5-2) face an undefeated foe, the Dawgs (7-0), who are the No. 1 ranked team in college football. Georgia has also won the college football national championship for the last two years in 2022 and 2021. The Bulldogs are heavily favored to win this year’s Florida-Georgia game.
But there have been upsets before during the history of this game, so time will tell. The long legacy of these two teams battling it out intensifies things. It’s a highly charged, emotional competition for both teams and their extended family of fans. For the football players, some have said in the past they got goose bumps as they ran onto the field of this storied game.
Whether one’s team wins or loses, here around the Florida-Georgia border, for football lovers, it usually turns out to be a fun experience. But naturally, tremendously satisfying for the team (and fans) with the most points on the scoreboard when the clock runs out.
Let’s enjoy what hopefully will be a display of good sportsmanship and a good time for fans — whether folks are at the stadium, in the parking lot tailgating, or watching the game on screens at home or elsewhere. Good luck to all, and have a safe football weekend!