CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The highly anticipated Atlantic Coast Conference match-up took over the Bank of America Stadium in uptown Saturday night, with the North Carolina Tar heels facing off against the Clemson Tigers for the ACC championship.
"Always a great day to be a Tar Heel. Carolina is going to win," said Hunter Carlyle.
"I'm super excited for the Tigers to come down. They are def going to win no contest about it and it just means a lot because I came down from Virginia with my parents," said Matthew Serafin.
Whether you’re wearing orange or blue, college pride is on full display. Over at Romare Bearden park, the ACC Fan Fest experience is in effect. For food trucks like Tiff’s Treats, it’s an opportunity to win over new fans with its warm delights.
"On a day like today when it is kind of rainy or cold, they love them and our colors match everything too. So it’s been awesome," Phylicia Shaw, catering & events manager said.
There were food, music, games, and marching bands from both schools sounding off.
"Even having events back from the pandemic, everybody is just excited to see the truck," said Shaw. "It's just nice to see the city doing things again and we get to be involved."
Beyond the fan fast, the rest of Uptown was also bustling with folks in and out of the local restaurants and bars.
"It's bringing small businesses out and seeing fans from across the state," said Dante Evans. "It just puts people downtown and it makes Charlotte more lively. It puts Charlotte on the map and says 'hey, we are still a big city.'"
ACC FAN FEST PREPS
On Saturday night, No. 9 Clemson faced No. 24 ranked North Carolina with both schools less than a few hours' drive away from Charlotte. Thousands of Clemson Tigers and North Carolina Tar Heel fans made their way into the Queen City for the ACC championship game.
The game comes at a time when colder temps might normally keep locals home and others from making a trip to Charlotte, but few things can make customers decide to spend like sporting events.
“Oh it’s huge for us, normally we’re normally slow this time of the year so when they add an event like that to uptown it's really big for us,” George Photopoulous, manager and co-owner of the French Quarter, said.
Photopoulous said his family has owned the restaurant and bar since 1986. He expects to do big business this weekend.
“There’s a lot of alcohol sales, lots of food, and a lot of long hours, cause it stretches out through the whole day," he said. "It's not just the 8:00 p.m. game. You have all that extra stuff going on too, you have all-day events.”
Fans will pack bars, restaurants and hotels during the weekend for the change to root on their teams, which is expected to generate millions for the area economy.
“This weekend will be a really great weekend,” Aaleyihia Roland said.
Roland has owned Lee Ann’s deli food truck since 2017 and said the more foot traffic in uptown will mean more opportunities to add to her bottom line.
“The more people that pass by will be better for us, and it gives us the opportunity for more exposure for people who haven’t eaten with us before,” Roland said.
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