On New Years Eve, we all headed out to the Chick-fil-a Bowl Fan Fest. By all, I mean everyone you usually read about on the blog- Darren, Raileigh, and I, as well as Angela and her boyfriend Kevin.
Of course, we had to make a pit stop first at a famous Atlanta eatery– The Varsity. Known for their greasy, yet delicious food, this restaurant long ago became an Atlanta institution. This is one of our favorite places to eat when we go to Atlanta. Darren always goes for a classic Varsity Orange (kind of like orange sherbret in milkshake form) along with two cheeseburgers and fries. As for me, I get a large PC (short for plain chocolate, which is chocolate milk on ice) along with a hamburger piled high with only pickles (the more the better!) and onion rings.
After filling our bellies, we made our way to the parade route. This is one of my favorite parts of the Chick-fil-a Bowl festivities. This was also Raileigh’s first parade, so that alone was exciting. We were actually able to park really close to the parade route, and arrived just after it started.
Pretty soon after our arrival, the City of Atlanta firetrucks rolled through. It always makes me nostalgic to see these. Darren and Kevin’s late grandfather served as a city of Atlanta firefighter for many years and he was a very wonderful man.
I always love to see the crazy vehicles the Shriners bring to the parade! They are noisy and fun– just the way a parade should be! The only downside to this… one was shooting out paper hole punch confetti- LOTS of it! While I was shooting pictures, this paper confetti cannon dumper a gazillion little pieces of paper right on me. It managed not to get on anyone standing around me– it just landed all over me. Angela was picking it out of my hair for quite some time, and I found it all in my clothes later in the day. I have a new, quite string dislike for little round hole punches now.
Anyhow… back to the parade. There were also some fun floats, dancers, and balloons. As you can see from the gorgeous blue sky, it was the absolute best day you could imagine for a parade! Finally, it was time for each of the respective schools to be represented in the parade. USC went first. That’s okay… we all know they saved the best for last!
It was really fun to actually be a fan of a team in the bowl this year. We have been several times in the past just because we enjoy going, not because we are a fan of either team in the bowl game. Besides, it’s SEC vs. ACC, so you are always assured a great match-up. The president of Florida State and his wife rode by first in a Corvette… ironically it had a Georgia Tech license plate. The cheerleaders and band all got the crowd roaring. Then, it was time for the parade to end and follow the other FSU fans to FanFest.
But, of course we had to stop and run in the park for a little while first. After all, that is one of the things that two year olds do best! Raileigh also promptly fell down in the dirt… but she was having a great time!
Finally, it was time to enjoy some Chick-fil-a and college football– definitely a great combination! We stopped many times throughout the day to pose with fun characters. I’m pretty sure that the Geico Gecko was Raileigh’s personal favorite. She is STILL talking about him and the little stuffed gecko that her have her.
We also spent some time in kiddie land. There were several things that Raileigh could do, such as the bounce house and inflatable train obstacle course. She was a little disappointed, though, that she couldn’t go on the big, blue inflatable slide. Maybe she’ll be tall enough next year!
There were numerous physical activities set up throughout the FanFest. Many of them involved throwing or catching the football. However, in one area, the activity changed regularly to get a lot of people involved. At one point, there was a tug of war- FSU fans vs. USC fans. Darren and Kevin headed up the FSU side. I knew even before the pull started that our guys had no chance. They were heavily outnumbered. It didn’t take long for the USC fans to pull our guys over the line.
Several local businesses also had tents set up at the FanFest. One of these was Home Depot. There were several things to do here. You could make team sign using these GIANT signs that were blank on one side and said “College Game Day- Built by the Home Depot” on the other side. We made a sign, and I attempted to carry it around. It was just to big, though, and I eventually ditched it. Kids could also build a little wooden football stand/ holder. This was perfect for Raileigh, who has been really into tools and fixing things lately (Santa even brought her a tool set). With a little help from Daddy, our cute handygirl built her football stand.
Dave and Buster’s was also there. They had a spinning wheel, in which you could win prizes. Kevin and I won little mug shot glasses (I’m thinking they might fit pretty good in our espresso machine!), Darren and Raileigh won a coupon for $10 of game play, and Angela won a whole stack of coupons! Coca-Cola Zero, Honda, Geico, and more companies were also there passing out free things for playing games and just having fun.
Of course, Chick-fil-a was front and center with all sorts of goodies. Everyone had the chance to try the delicious Chick-fil-a milkshakes. They handed out samples of my personal favorite- cookies and cream. We actually went through the line several times… shhhh… don’t tell! With the sample, we were each given coupons for a free milkshake as well.
There was also a place to sign up for a chance to win free breakfast for a year in celebration of the new Chick-fil-a spicy chicken biscuit. Darren actually was an instant winner of a spicy chicken biscuit, which he could sample right then and there. Because of this, they actually let all of us in the special tasting area to have a biscuit. I actually really liked the biscuit, though it took almost an entire bottle of water to wash it down with. I personally think the biscuit is far better than the spicy chicken sandwich.
Chick-fil-a also had an area set up in which you could win all sorts of Chick-fil-a swag. We played a plink-o style game. There was also a game which involved getting into a wind simulator thing and trying to catch little squares of fabric. We all tried– including Raileigh– but none of us were very good. However, it was nearing the end by this point, and there was lots of prizes left. So, we walked away with A LOT of Chick-fil-a goodies- stuffed cows, coupons, workout towels, sunglasses, stadium cushion, cozies, and more. Seriously- you would not believe the number of mini Chick-fil-a Bowl cows that came home with us!
It was an absolutely wonderful day, which we ended by watching the actual game. Our Noles came home victorious, as we knew they would! It was the perfect way to end 2010 and ring in a brand new year. I’ll leave you with some shots of my wonderful family enjoying the day together.