Fans dressed in red and garnet are expected to flock to the Augusta Common today for the 20th anniversary edition of Border Bash, the annual meeting of college football fans before the clash of gridiron giants Georgia and South Carolina.
This year’s event, which will feature cheerleading squads and mascots from both schools, is being headlined by country rock band Blackberry Smoke. Border Bash promoter Joe Stevenson, who will also be performing with his band, the Joe Stevenson Band, said the event will also include vendors selling collegiate apparel, as well as a handful of local restaurants.
Border Bash is a “two-fold event,” he said.
“From 4 to 8:30 or so, you’ve got kids running around with the cheerleaders and mascots,” he said. “It’s very family friendly. As it gets later, it turns into a party.”
This year’s party is expected to draw more than 8,000 people, Stevenson said. With the event scheduled on First Friday for the second year in a row, that number could rise, even attracting people with no interest in the game.
“Obviously, it’s predominantly Georgia and (South) Carolina fans,” he said. “But not everybody is a college football fan. Blackberry Smoke is going to draw a lot of people from out of town. We’re going to see a lot of just Blackberry Smoke fans.”
Tickets for the event are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate. Children 12 and younger are admitted free.
Joel Simmons, the president of the Border Bash Foundation, said proceeds will benefit local charities. Last year, the foundation donated money to 17 children’s charities that “fly under the radar,” Simmons said.
Simmons said Border Bash is consistently one of Augusta’s biggest one-day events, right behind the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Across the river in South Carolina, a two-day arts festival begins today. Aiken’s Makin’ features local and regional handmade wares, family entertainment, music and food and more.