Marching bands, pep rallies, food, interactive games and a concert by an award-winning performer are all part of the busy schedule leading up to Saturday’s Belk Bowl football game in Charlotte’s uptown.
The game, pitting the ACC’s North Carolina against Cincinnati of the American Athletic Conference, has a 3:20 p.m. kickoff.
But Charlotte-area residents will be able to get a good flavor of the game by attending any of a number of free events Friday and Saturday.
The highlight is Saturday’s FanFest, at the corner of Mint and Stonewall streets next to Bank of America Stadium. It will feature appearances by both schools’ cheerleaders, along with a mascot challenge and free interactive games.
At 1:30 p.m., reigning Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year Blake Shelton will perform in concert. Shelton also is well-known as a judge on NBC’s reality music competition “The Voice.”
Here is a schedule of Belk Bowl activities, open to everyone:
4-5 p.m., Battle of the Bands, at NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at Caldwell street. Featuring both schools’ marching bands.
7-11 p.m., Fan Central party, at Epicentre on East Trade Street. Cheerleaders, marching bands and mascots join the fan party in the courtyard.
7 p.m., UNC Basketball Viewing Party, at Blackfinn in Epicentre. Sponsored by the Rams Club. Fans can watch the Tar Heels face Northern Kentucky in basketball.
8:30 a.m., Belk Bowl 5K, starting at the Wells Fargo Atrium on South Tryon Street. It’s a 3.1-mile run and walk, benefiting the Levine Children’s Hospital. Enter at The Belk Bowl 5K website.
11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., FanFest, at Mint and Stonewall streets. Event opens, 11 a.m.; Belk Bowl Drum Line and Pep Squad, 11:20 a.m.; University of Cincinnati cheerleaders; Noon, North Carolina cheerleaders, 12:30 p.m., Mascot Challenge; 1:30 p.m., Blake Shelton concert. FanFest closes at 2:30 p.m.
1 p.m., UNC Victory Walk. Fans will gather at 12:30 p.m. at the Westin Hotel on Stonewall Street and then walk to the stadium at 1 p.m.
3:20 p.m., kickoff of the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium.