Fans prepare for Fountain City Classic - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fans prepare for Fountain City Classic

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The 23rd Annual Fountain City Classic will take over Columbus Saturday as the Albany State Golden Rams play the Fort Valley State Wildcats.  It's one of the most bitter and well-known rivalries in black college football. 

"It so happens that every year, no matter what the record is, this is almost like Georgia versus Florida, except they're only a few miles apart," said game chairman, Rep. Calvin Smyre.

The game is expected to attract a sellout crowd of 15,000 fans and many more will be in town for tailgating and revelry.  A packed schedule of events will last all day, both before and after the game.

A parade will start before the game at 10 a.m. in Phenix City and end on Broadway in Columbus.  WTVM news reporters and anchors will be in attendance.

Friday night, vendors filled up the Columbus Trade Center, selling school apparel and fraternity gear, and, a special invitation-only event was held in the ballroom to honor the college presidents and their homecoming courts.  Fans are already making their predictions about tomorrow.  A defensive lineman who played in the ‘60s gave his take.

"We had homecoming a couple weeks ago and we beat up on that school.  I think that gave them a good look at the team.  The first game of the year I saw was the Tuskegee game.  They got beat up on that one, but hey, I think we have a good chance this year," said Calvin Cash, Fort Valley Alumnus.

The history of this match up dates back to 1945 and has been played in Columbus since 1990.  As the chairman will tell you, despite the friendly atmosphere, there's a lot at stake.

"It's very festive.  We call it the calm before the storm. It's the showdown before sundown," said Smyre.

Business generated by this event is great for the economy of Columbus and the schools benefit from being hosted in a larger venue.  Someone will lose the game tomorrow, but it's a win-win for the Fountain City.

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