Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Where's the party? Concerts, fireworks and parties for Tampa's College Football Playoff weekend

Before top teams throw down in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship, parties and free concerts with major stars abound in Tampa. We'll update this list as we find out more.

Playoff Playlist Live

The concert series is free at Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa.

• Friday: Headliner is country star Eric Paslay, along with the Shadowboxers and Clare Dunn. 5-11 p.m.

• Saturday: Flo Rida will headline with additional performances by Rachel Platten and Cold War Kids. Noon-11 p.m.

• Sunday: Comedian Jay Pharoah hosts with Usher taking center stage as the headline act. Additional performances include Gavin DeGraw and Jamie N Commons. Noon-11 p.m.

Ferg's Live concert

On Sunday, Fitz and the Tantrums and Big and Rich will headline a party organized by Coors Light at Ferg's Live in downtown Tampa from 6 to 11 p.m. It is a private event -- but radio stations 97X and Hot 101.5 are offering chances to win your way in.

Look for ticket contest entry opportunities at the following dates and locations:

• Thursday: 6 to 8 p.m. at Topgolf, 10690 Palm River Road, Tampa

• Friday: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Irish 31, 1611 W Swann Ave., Tampa; and 6 to 8 p.m. at Irish 31, 214 Westshore Plaza, Tampa

• Saturday: 2 to 4 p.m. at WingHouse Bar and Grill, 9712 W Columbus Drive, Tampa; and 7 to 9 p.m. at Ferg's Sports Bar, 1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg

For more on the party, see and


Fireworks are Friday and Saturday at Curtis Hixon Park after the concerts. Sunday fireworks are at the Tampa Convention Center basin at about 9 p.m.

Playoff Fan Central

In the Tampa Convention Center, the fan zone of interactive games, band performances and celebrity appearances is open 3-8 p.m. on Friday and noon-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. Free for game ticket holders. General admission $8 in advance via Ticketmaster, $10 at the door. Children 12 and younger free with a paying adult.

Championship Beach Bash

At Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach, this free event Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. promises a family-friendly pep rally atmosphere with entertainment, live music, inflatables, games and appearances by bands from the championship teams, as well as cheerleaders and special guests. The highlight will be a celebrity flag football game with ESPN analyst and former Gator quarterback Jesse Palmer as one of the coaches, alongside NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, comedian Cedric the Entertainer and ESPN host Sara Walsh, a graduate of New Port Richey's Gulf High School, where she was a soccer star.

Extra Yard Run

A scenic 5K ($30) or 1-mile run ($15) on Sunday starting at 8 a.m. along Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard starts and ends at Amalie Arena. Includes live entertainment, activities and a post-race awards celebration. Benefits Extra Yard for Teachers. Sign up at

Taste of the Championship

A mini food fest at the Florida Aquarium on Sunday promises "celebrity appearances" and lots of food by top restaurants. The $250 admission includes unlimited food and beverages and admission to the aquarium. Tampa Bay restaurants include 717 South, Ava, Bern's Steak House, Boca Kitchen, Bar & Market, Cigar City BrewPub, the Columbia, Datz, Fodder & Shine, Goody Goody, Haven, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Mise en Place, Parkshore Grill, the Refinery, Roux and Ulele. 7-10 p.m. Sunday at Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $250.

Extra Yard for Teachers Summit

This fast paced, half day gathering for teachers is by invitation only. It includes speakers and performances. Takes place in part with the college football championship game. Free. Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St., Tampa. (813) 274-8511. 10 a.m. Saturday.

Championship Tailgate

On game day, country star Dierks Bentley will headline the pregame party at Raymond James Stadium that runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. It's free to anyone who has a ticket to the game. There will be live music, ESPN broadcasts and interactive sports games. Inside the stadium, Little Big Town will sing the national anthem.


If you have a party for the College Football Playoff to add to this list, send details to [email protected],

Dos Equis Beer Garden: As the official beer sponsor of the College Football Playoff, Dos Equis is setting up a tailgate along the Tampa Riverwalk on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. Fans will have the opportunity to take photos alongside the Most Interesting Man in the World's helicopter RV from the latest commercial, engage in competitions and buy concessions. You can also roam the Riverwalk and refill exclusive Dos Equis Riverwalk cups at participating bars and restaurants along the way.

Legends of Clemson: Country singer Lee Brice (A Woman Like You, Hard to Love) plays for this party hosted by former NFL player and Clemson alumnus Brian Dawkins. They will be joined by 21 other notable Clemson alumni, including Shaq Lawson of the Buffalo Bills and Stephone Anthony of the New Orleans Saints, for this party that benefits campus initiatives. 8 p.m. Sunday at District 3, 802 E Whiting St., Tampa. $40. (480) 284-6033.

Clemson Welcome Party: The Clemson Alumni Association, Clemson IPTAY and Florida Clemson clubs host a welcome party Sunday at 6:30 p.m. for Tigers fans visiting the area and locals to meet up and mingle the Sunday before the big game. The main party begins at Yeoman's Cask and Lion (202 N. Morgan Street, Tampa) at 6:30 p.m. As that location fills up, there will be overflow parties at these other downtown Tampa restaurants: Taps Wine and Beer Restaurant (6:30 p.m., 777 N. Ashley Drive), Anise Global Gastrobar (8 p.m., 777 N. Ashley Drive) and Pokeys (6:30 p.m., 100 E. Madison St.). The parties will include drink specials, and Clemson fans are encouraged to wear orange and bring their Tiger $2 bills. Reps from Florida's Clemson alumni clubs will be at each bar to greet fans.

Clemson watch parties: These bars will host official Clemson Alumni Association watch parties during the national championship game. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. Monday, but Tampa Bay Clemson Club officers recommend arriving by 7:30.

• Quaker Steak & Lube, 10400 49th St N, Clearwater

• Outpost Tavern, 909 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa

• Beef 'O' Bradys Southdale, 4516 S Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa.

Alabama Crimson Tide Championship Kickoff Party: For all the Alabama fans in town, the Tampa Bay Crimson Tide Alumni Association is hosting a party Sunday night at 6 p.m. at Tampa Joe's, 9316 Anderson Road. The event inside and outside with tents for the band and entertainment. There will be raffles, merchandise sales, and memorabilia sales. There are multiple ticket options that can be purchased in advanced or at the door. $40 all you can eat and drink (beer/wine/non-alcoholic), $25 all you can eat, or $10 entry and pay as you go. Get tickets at

Alabama Watch Party: The official Tampa Bay Crimson Tide Alumni Association watch party will be Monday at 7 p.m. at Tampa Joe's, 9316 Anderson Road.

Satellite watch party: The Tampa Bay Crimson Tide will also host a watch party for fans in southeast Hillsborough County at EATS American Grill at Winthrop Town Centre in Riverview, 6264 Winthrop Town Centre Blvd. Entry to both parties is free.

Times staff writers Jay Cridlin and Christopher Spata contributed to this report.


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