With thousands of West Virginia University alumni and fans descending upon Charlotte, N.C., for the 2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl, WVU and the WVU Alumni Association have announced numerous activities for Mountaineers traveling to the area for the big game.
"Our constituents have proven time and time again to be an extremely loyal fan base, and this year is no exception," said Steve Douglas, president and chief executive officer of the WVU Alumni Association.
"We are pleased to once again partner with the University, as well as local businesses in the Queen City, to offer Mountaineers a unique fan experience. I think those individuals making their way to the Meineke Car Care Bowl will have a wonderful time."
Bowl-related programming will begin in the Mountain State with the landmark Tamarack tourist attraction (off Exit 45 at the I-64-77 interchange near Beckley) again serving as a "pit stop" for fans motoring to Charlotte for the game. Road trippers can stop on Friday, Dec. 26, from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and refresh with free soft drinks or coffee, connect with friends and fans, pick up free WVU gift items, get a Beckley Register-Herald special bowl edition and take advantage of great discounts on gold-and-blue merchandise.
Once in Charlotte, Mountaineers are encouraged to visit the RBC Bank Street Festival. The bowl-sanctioned activity includes interactive games and rides, live entertainment, team appearances, food and beverage vendors, cheerleader and band performances, merchandise, sponsor giveaways, face painting and more. The festival runs from 11 a.m.-6:15 p.m. Dec. 26 at the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets in Uptown.
The popular "Mountaineer Connection" Fan Experience will run from
1-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 26, at Charlotte's Epicentre (210 Trade St.). The event will highlight favorite Mountaineer traditions with special activities, including a grand opening performance by "The Pride of West Virginia" Marching Band, appearances by the Mountaineer and WVU cheerleaders, special photo opportunities, Mountaineer karaoke and interactive games. Limited gold-and-blue giveaways will also be available to fans.
Specialty food and beverage concessions also will be offered at adjacent Blackfinn, Suite and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Whiskey River - including a $10 buffet option and special menu selections. Mountaineers should look for WVU football highlights and mechanical bull rides at these establishments as they connect with fellow fans.
The WVU faithful are also invited to a pep rally send-off from the Epicentre at 4:30 p.m. Fans will receive a special giveaway as they depart for the festivities led by "The Pride of West Virginia."
Following the 5 p.m. pep rally at Trade and Tryon streets, they can return to the Epicentre for a special live broadcast of the "West Virginia Statewide Sportsline" beginning at 6 p.m.
The "Mountaineer Connection" is a joint venture of WVU and the WVU Alumni Association with support from the WVU Foundation and the Mountaineer Athletic Club. This event is free and open to the public.
"The Epicentre is one of Charlotte's newest hot spots, located across the street from the Omni Hotel and in close proximity to where most Friday bowl activities will take place," said Michael Petruski, president of the Charlotte chapter of the WVU Alumni Association. "It is the perfect place to headquarter Mountaineer fans because it is centrally located, is a great restaurant and entertainment marketplace, has plenty of space for people to gather and sits along the light rail public transportation system."
From 8-10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 27, the WVU Alumni Association will host the "Chalk Talk - An Insider's View of Today's Game" breakfast at the Westin Hotel (601 S. College St.), featuring WVU play-by-play announcer Tony Caridi. The brunch will consist of a full breakfast buffet and a cash bar. Tickets for this special event are $65 and are limited. To reserve a space, visit http://www.WVUSportsTravel.com.
Alumni and friends not traveling to the bowl game can visit WVU BowlSpace (http://bowlgame.wvu.edu/) - an interactive Web site where Mountaineer fans can post their favorite WVU photos, show support for the team, share stories of home and, of course, read about the latest bowl activities and events, including blogs from students and alumni.
For more information on the events listed above, visit http://bowlgame.wvu.edu/fan_events.
To learn more official WVU bowl travel opportunities, visit http://www.WVUSportsTravel.com or call 1-800-924-9993.
For ticket information, visit http://www.WVUGame.com or call 1-800-WVU-GAME.
The Mountaineers face off against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels in the Meineke Car Care Bowl Saturday, Dec. 27. The game will be televised on ESPN. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.