BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On Saturday, the Magic City Classic will kick off for the 80th time at Birmingham’s Legion Field.
Organizers are expecting around 67,000 fans to be at the rivalry game between Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University. Before the big crowds, Friday is all about preparations. The RV’s are parked, tents and grills are heating up as fans return gear up for the big game.
Chanda Temple, public information officer for the city of Birmingham, said the Classic has always been a major boost to the economy here in Birmingham and this weekend will be no different.
“Bands are back tailgating it back magic city classic is back so we want to welcome fans back down to legion Field and get ready to have a good time,” Temple said.
Fans say they are eagerly awaiting the game.
“It’s about supporting the HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) most of all and it’s a classic,” fan Anthony Bynum said. “It’s like once-a-year where we can come out celebrate cook eat and people come from all around just really excited.”
Bynum, who is from Stevenson, Alabama, said this weekend is all about family, friends, and football.
“Alabama A&M has to be that way and just everybody comes out and supports both teams you know represent that state of Alabama but go bulldogs,” he said.
Last year’s Classic didn’t happen in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, it was played the following spring.
“To have the magic city back you bring a herd of people that love the city itself they really love supporting it and they come out and they have fun,” said Crystal Peterson, co-owner of Yo Mama’s restaurant.
Peterson said big events in the city are great for businesses especially after dealing with COVID-19 restrictions.
“It’s always good to have outside events because you bring in new people and it’s always good for taxes to have those hotels filled to have those restaurants booked,” she said. “The restaurant industry has been hurt the last two years, so to have a surge of people coming in really helps bottom line.”
The city, fans, and businesses say they hope to see this tradition continue for years to come.
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