|FYI — February 2005|
|By Brad Dunn|
Alltel Stadium lies right off the river’s edge, and though the big game won’t be visible from the water, the city will host Super Bowl-related festivals on the weekend of February 6 within a stone’s throw of two major marinas. It will be a nautical tailgate party marathon.
“We billed this early on as the ‘Super Bowl on the River,’ and the nautical aspect was a central theme in our bid to the NFL,” says Heather Surface, spokesperson for the Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for boaters from across the country, and the world, to experience this event from the water.”
There’s only one downside: Thousands of boaters will be vying for, at most, 350 public and private slips. Come kick-off time, the rest of the river will be shut down by the Coast Guard for security reasons. Steve Nichols, Jacksonville’s waterways coordinator, explains that the city decided to dole out its 81 municipal slips in the only fair way possible: a lottery. In December thousands of boaters applied for spots at the Northbank Landing and Southbank Riverwalk marinas. Although many local boaters hoped to get a hometown advantage in the lottery, Nichols says the drawing was completely random.
“We have 32,000 registered boats in the Jacksonville area alone, and a lot of those owners wanted a slip for the game,” he explains. “But the Super Bowl is not just a Jacksonville event, it’s a worldwide event, and we had to treat it as such.”
For those who lost out on the lottery, however, the city will host a Lighted Boat Parade on the Thursday night before the game on the St. Johns River. All boaters are encouraged to register; ( (904)630-3690 for info.
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This article originally appeared in the January 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.