There will be multiple events on both sides of Tampa Bay leading up to the New Year’s Day Outback Bowl game between the Michigan Wolverines and South Carolina Gamecocks.
This evening, Wednesday (Dec. 27), players will participate in Players Night at Splitsville, 615 Channelside Drive. Attendees can enjoy an evening of fun and games and watch the teams compete off the field in a bowling match up. Doors open to the public at 7:15 p.m.
Both teams will enjoy an outing at Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, with their fans for the attractions and festivities on Thursday (Dec. 28).
Catch the Gamecocks and the Wolverines at the Tampa Bay Lightning game on Friday (Dec. 29) at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive. Both teams will be hosted by the Lightning for the game. To order tickets, call (813) 301-6600 or visit ticketmater.com.
On Saturday (Dec. 30), both teams, their marching bands and cheerleaders head to Clearwater Beach Day at the Hilton Clearwater Beach next to Pier 60. This event includes live music, skydivers, a tug-of-war and other contests from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Afterward, fans can stick around for Clearwater’s regular Sunsets at Pier 60 celebration featuring artisans, music and more while watching the sun set on the Gulf of Mexico.
The Battle of the Bands will take place on Sunday (Dec. 31) with both bands squaring off at Busch Gardens. Admission to the park is required with times to be announced. Later that day, the Outback Bowl kicks off the New Years Eve celebrations with a parade and pep rally in Ybor City.
The parade will feature floats and about 20 marching bands including the two college bands. The pep rally features another Battle of the Bands performance and cheerleaders from both universities. This is a free family friendly event. The parade starts at 5:30 p.m. and runs along Seventh Avenue. Attendees should not bring coolers, glass containers or open alcohol on the streets.
Attendees over the age of 21 can also celebrate New Years Eve at Aqua Eve at the Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive. Enjoy live music, complementary food, beer and wine along with a champagne toast. All Aquarium exhibits will be open. Cash bar will be available. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (813) 273-4000 or visit flaquarium.org.
For more information about the Outback Bowl and events going on before game day, visit outbackbowl.com.