The Georgia Bulldogs football game against the Florida Gators, held at the neutral site of Jacksonville since 1933, has been called “The World’s Largest Cocktail Party.” In 2005, efforts were made to remove the drinking label from the football game.
“World’s Largest Cocktail Party” was a nickname at South Carolina’s Camden Cup horserace by at least 1971, and the name was used for this football game by at least 1976.
“The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” is a common name for the annual college football game between the University of Florida Gators and the University of Georgia Bulldogs, one of the great rivalries in college football; it is officially known as the “Georgia-Florida/Florida-Georgia Game” (switching every year). Currently, the game is held at ALLTEL Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida, usually on the last Saturday in October. The designated “home” team alternates from year to year, with ticket distribution split evenly between the two schools. In past years, fans from Florida and Georgia were assigned seats grouped in alternating sections of the stadium, and the contrasting colors worn by the fans created a “beach ball” visual effect in the stands. Recently the seating arrangement has split the stadium lengthwise and fans sit on the side corresponding to the sideline their team occupies.
The game was first held in Jacksonville in 1915 in the teams’ second meeting (won by Georgia 39-0). The game has been held in Jacksonville every year since 1933, except for the 1994 game while Alltel Stadium was built on the site of the Gator Bowl Stadium, and the 1995 game, where in an interesting side note to that battle, Florida head coach Steve Spurrier tacked on an extra touchdown at the end of the game to set a new opponents’ scoring record in Sanford Stadium, the home field of the Bulldogs.
30 January 1971, Florence (SC) Morning News, pg. 6:
West, who once used to host a mammoth party after the annual Camden Cup, said he thinks it now a better sporting event than when it was referred to by the press as “the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party.”
3 November 1976, Delta Democrat-Times (Greenville, MI), pg. 33:
Vince Dooley has never been pleased during his 13 years as Georgia coach about the fact that the Georgia-Florida game has been played in Jacksonville every year since 1933.
“Florida is located only 70 miles away from Jacksonville and it’s a six-hour drive for out students. They always have a lot more students than we do at the game.”
The Georgia-Florida game has long been one of the big social events of the year for North Florida-South Georgia residents. It’s long been a sellout well in advance with the hotels and restaurants in Jacksonville finding it an even bigger bonanza than the Gator Bowl game.
One long-time observer called it “the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party.”
23 December 1976, Great Bend (KS) Tribune, pg. 6:
Police at the Gator Bowl gave claim checks for booze taken from spectators at the Florida-Georgia game, dubbed “The world’s largest outdoor cocktail party.”
7 November 1982, Washington Post, pg. F8:
There were 80,749 fans on hand in the expanded and refurbished Gator Bowl, the biggest football crowd in Florida history, and they even behaved themselves in what is sometimes called the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party.
11 November 1984, Washington Post, pg. C9:
Georgia, usually playing at its peak in this game (called “The World’s largest outdoor Cocktail Party"), appeared shaky, fumbling once and being intercepted twice.
Florida (Sunshine State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, August 17, 2006 • Permalink