CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The festivities surrounding the Belk College Kickoff officially began Friday night in uptown Charlotte.
A special concert starring musician Chase Rice and several other performers was held at Romare Bearden Park. The North Carolina Tar Heels will take on the South Carolina Gamecocks Saturday afternoon.
Officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department blocked the streets surrounding Bank of America Stadium Friday. Crews have already set up many of the tents, tables and chairs that will be used for Saturday morning’s FanFest.
By Friday evening, several RVs were also stationed in tailgate lots near the stadium. Fans of both the Tar Heels and the Gamecocks said they were intrigued by the idea of playing a game in neutral territory.
“I think it’s good. You get crowds from both teams, both areas coming in,” said Tommy Hill, a USC fan who traveled from Little River, South Carolina to be in Charlotte.
Chuck Castelli, a UNC fan, was tailgating with a large group of family and friends Friday night. He said he was also looking forward to seeing the game in Charlotte.
“We love it. You get both fan bases involved. We’re in a neutral sight and we’re in the middle so may the best team prevail,” said Castelli.
While many fans are traveling from different parts of the Carolinas to be in Charlotte for the game, some die hards have traveled from out-of-state just to attend the Belk College Kickoff. The Castelli family flew in from New York to see the game.
“It’s just more for the friends and the family than football,” explained Castelli. “Everything else is secondary. We hope we win, but that don’t matter.”
The FanFest starts Saturday morning at 10 a.m. The game will be played at 3:30 p.m.