Gators, Hawkeyes arrive for next week’s Outback Bowl

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Gators and the Iowa Hawkeyes are set to square-off in the Outback Bowl on January 2nd at Raymond James Stadium and a full schedule of fun events have been planned before the big game.

The teams arrived to Tampa on Monday and were greeted by bowl staff, officials and media at their team hotels.

Below are the following fun events scheduled prior to next Monday’s game:

Dec. 27 – Players’ Night at Splitsville
The Gators and Hawkeyes will enjoy an evening of games with fans beginning at 7:15 p.m. at the Channelside location.  Watch the teams compete off the field in a game of bowling.

Dec. 28 – Busch Gardens Team Outing
Both the teams and fans can enjoy all Busch Gardens has to offer during bowl week.  Admission is available at the gate from 9:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.

Dec. 28 – Players visit Tampa General Hospital
In this invitation only event, players and coaches from the Gators and Hawkeyes will brighten the day of children at Tampa General Hospital.

Dec. 29 – Team Night at Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
The Tampa Bay Lightning host both teams at Amalie Arena when the Bolts take on the Maple Leafs on Thursday.  Tickets are available online or by calling 813-301-6600.

Dec. 30 – Clearwater Beach Day
Players, marching bands and cheerleaders will enjoy sun and fun at the Hilton Clearwater Beach next to Pier 60.  The day includes skydivers, live music and contents from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dec. 30 – Metlife/Mercedes-Benz Gridiron Gala
The sponsors host this event for bowl and school VIPS at the Marriott Waterside.  The event includes food, a dessert room and a cigar bar.  The event is invitation only.

Dec. 31 – New Year’s Eve Parade
Ybor City hosts the Outback Bowl New Year’s Eve parade and pep rally on Saturday.  Don’t miss the floats, 20 marching bands, a battle of the bands event, and best of all, it’s free.  The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs along 7th Avenue.

Dec. 31 – Aqua Eve
Enjoy live music, food, beer, wine and a champagne toast along with all the Florida Aquarium’s exhibits.  Dinner and dessert will be served and a cash bar is available.  The event begins at 9 p.m.  You can log on to the aquarium’s website or call 813-273-4000 to purchase tickets.

Dec. 31 – Light Up Tampa Bay
A fireworks show and New Year’s ball drop ends a night downtown featuring live music on Tampa’s waterfront.

Jan. 1 – Fan Rally at Channelside
The event runs New Year’s Day from noon until 6 p.m.  Enjoy live entertainment, special fun challenges and food and beverages from surrounding restaurants and bars.

Jan. 1 – Lowry Park Zoo tailgate
Take the kids to tailgate the big game from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.  The tailgate includes games, animal encounters, tailgate food and drinks.  Discount tickets can be ordered online.

Jan. 1 – Outback Bowl Field Show Festival
High school marking bands compete in Brightspark Travel’s Outback Field Show Festival.   The winning band receives the honor of playing during pregame of the Outback Bowl!  The free event begins at 6 p.m. at Jefferson High School in Tampa.

Jan. 2 – Pregame Bowl Bash
Get the party started at 10 a.m. featuring a pep rally and live music, presented by various sponsors.  Food and drink were be available for purchase on the south plaza between gates C and D of Raymond James Stadium.

Jan. 2 – Outback Bowl 2017
The culmination of a week of fun ends the big game itself: The Outback Bowl on Monday at 1 p.m.  Activities in the Tampa General Hospital Pregame Show include high school and college bands, a flyover, skydivers and the coin toss presented by a celebrity.  The pregame show begins at 12:20 p.m.  Don’t miss the Coca-Cola Halftime Show featuring more than 3,500 performers, including both college bands and a mass performance by high school bands and dance groups from around the country. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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