Florida-Georgia tailgating tradition kicks off rivalry week

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of the most memorable parts of the Florida vs. Georgia football tradition is the tailgating.

Pockets of Gators and ‘Dawgs fans mix together on neutral ground (semi-neutral if you ask some Georgia fans) and celebrate side-by-side.

The most clear-cut example of that unusual fan experience is the annual RV City, which opened at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

RELATED: Parking, events & more: What you need to know for Florida-Georgia week

The RV trip to Jacksonville is an annual affair for many fans, and spots are already sold out. That’s why a line of RVs has been waiting to get into the lot for days.

Bulldogs fans Randy Stone and Scott Wall, who first met at a Florida-Georgia game about 15 years ago, lined up for this year’s RV City on Friday.

“We plan weeks in advance when we’re gonna get here so we can all meet up and park together and have fun, cook and eat together all week,” Wall said.

Entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis, and spots are assigned once campers enter the lot. That means a Georgia fan could end up parked between two Florida fans — or vice versa.

That arrangement has made both RV City and the parking lots on gameday, an iconic experience as fans enjoy their tailgating time next to their rivals — and often try to outdo each other with decorations, cooking and more.

The close quarters have also led to some unlikely friendships.

Florida Gators fans Nancy Hayes, Andrea Guzman and Carrie Sessions — and Sessions’ bulldog “Meatloaf” — have been friends with Bulldogs fans Stone and Wall for years. In fact, their friendship has grown so strong they see each other between games, too.

As fans get settled in to RV City on Tuesday, the rivalry between Florida and Georgia is revving up.

“They invited us over. We hang out with them every year. It’s become a tradition for us. We just love it — even though they’re Georgia fans,” Sessions said. “It’s just amazing that they were so welcoming to us.”

Hayes said Stone is always ready with a quick, “Who let the ‘Dawgs out?” — but it’s all in good fun. Until game time, that is.

If you’re camping out in RV City this week, here are a few rules to keep in mind:

  • There are no electric or water hook-ups

  • All camping vehicles, trailers, and RVs must be self-contained

  • Saving spaces is not allowed

  • All campers must exit RV City by noon Sunday

Georgia and Florida fans cheer side-by-side at the Fairgrounds during tailgating festivities on Saturday. (WJXT)

City leaders say they’re expecting big crowds for the game and are preparing accordingly.

“The biggest request that we can ask is that any fans attending the game, please be at the gates, ready to go, either shortly after the team walks at 1:30 or at 1:30 when gates do open,” said Mike Kenny, general manager of ASM Global, which manages EverBank Stadium. “There is a clear bag policy in effect, and we will also have metal detection screenings at the gate.”


This is Jacksonville’s 89th year hosting the rivalry game, which is one of the greatest traditions in college football.

This time around, the Gators are the home team, making it the “Florida-Georgia” game.

Georgia has won five of the last six meetings, including last year, and this year’s matchup is a bit uneven. The undefeated ‘Dawgs have had a remarkable run at No. 1 this season while Florida is unranked at 5-2.

“The last two years have just been awesome for us. We’ve just had a great team. I hope it holds on this Saturday,” Stone said.

The Gators are 22-11 vs. Georgia dating back to 1990, but the overall record between the teams depends on who you ask.

Georgia claims 55 total wins, counting one against Florida Agricultural College back in 1904.

Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at EverBank Stadium.

For more information about the 2023 Florida-Georgia week and football game, visit FLGAjax.com.

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2023/10/24/iconic-rv-city-opens-florida-georgia-tailgating-tradition-kicks-off-rivalry-week/ Florida-Georgia tailgating tradition kicks off rivalry week

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