Although kickoff for the Georgia-Florida showdown in Jacksonville isn't until 3:30 on Saturday afternoon, the party really begins Wednesday morning and with a lot on the line in this year's game, the turnout is expected to be huge.
RV city in lot E in the sports complex opened its gates Wednesday to the line of campers, some of which have been waiting since last week. Gator fan Art Waczkowski says he showed up this weekend but says there were people waiting as early as Thursday.
"My friends got here 7:30 Sunday morning and I live in Yulee so I just came down and joined them around noon or so. I've been doing this off and on for 20 years."
If you're willing to pay the $100 per space per day it costs to park your camper there, then you'll get to enjoy the George Aspinall Band concert, Georgia-Florida karaoke on Friday, and of course, the all-important campground decorating contest to crown the best Florida or Georgia bedecked camper. While most people know exactly what colors to decorate their camper, it's not that easy for sisters Tiffany and Tammy, who have been coming to RV city for 7 years, though they live locally.
"Been that way since we were kids," says Tammy. "I'm the only black sheep in the family. They're all Gators."
"Yeah, she is the black sheep," says Tiffany. "We have to decorate the RV in two different kind of colleges, here."
Coming into this week, Florida (7-0, 2-0) sits ranked at number two in the BCS rankings while Georgia (6-1, 4-1) is ranked tenth. The game could have major implications on the SEC. If Florida wins, it will clinch the eastern division and earn itself a trip to the SEC championship in Atlanta. Georgia could play spoiler, however, in the 89th all-time meeting between the two schools.
Tailgaters like John, a Georgia fan, say the best part is showing up, seeing the people you parked next to the year before, and catching up with all the other friends you only see during Georgia-Florida weekend. His friend Duane sits on a pickup truck bed next to him, clad in Gator orange and blue. John says he'll help Duane set up his RV, and that the two even cordial to one another on gameday.
"We're still friends through kickoff too, but we don't sit together."
Fans on both sides say they're cautiously optimistic about this weekend's game. Many like Art Waczkowski say that nothing is ever a given when the Dawgs and Gators meet, and to assume otherwise isn't a good idea.
"We've come in here before with a big head and then we go home with a little head when we leave."
Entry is first-come first-served and there's no saving spaces in the lot so if you want to be part of the party, get there early. To get more information on RV city, you can visit the website the city has set up specially for Georgia-Florida.