CHAPEL HILL – Downtown will be buzzing Thursday as fan get ready for UNC and Miami on the gridiron as Tar Heel Town moves to Franklin Street.
Tar Heel Downtown takes place from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and will have a host of activities for the family. Tar Heel Town normally takes place on campus next to Kenan Stadium, with the national spotlight on the game, UNC Athletics, the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, and the Town of Chapel Hill partnered together to make the event happen.
Tar Heel Downtown is on West Franklin Street between N. Columbia and Mallette Streets. Much of the festivities are centered around University Square with activities like face painting, live music, the Carolina Cheerleaders, bounce houses, and much more.
Some retail stores in University Square, like Fine Feathers, may see more business with so many people at the event. Fine Feathers’ Pam Patterson says she is glad to be a part of it. Sales manager for Fitzgeralds, Lauren Shoaf, says that the restaurant plans on a boost in business from the Tar Heel Downtown.
“Well since we’re right across the street from all the main action we definitely didn’t want to take away from that, but more embrace that being here and work with what the town is doing,” Shoaf says.
Fitzgerald’s opens at noon Thursday, instead of its normal time, 4:00 p.m. With 29 televisions and activities available for people who want to tailgate, Shoaf says she hopes some people will stick around for the game.
“We will have a band from 4 to 7 inside, we’ll be doing some outdoor stuff, an outdoor tailgate party where we will have beer tubs and tap boxes outside so people don’t have to come back inside to get a drink and they can be outside and hear the band and see everything that’s going on,” Shoaf says.
Other stores and restaurants that are outside of the event area may also see more business from the people coming for the game. General Manager for Mellow Mushroom in Chapel Hill, Zach Lindley, says that home games bring some of the biggest crowds to the restaurants.
“I think anybody that wants dinner or beer would come by, we’re expect some overflow from that event, but just in general because it’s a home game on a Thursday we’re expecting to be busier than normal, but it definitely will help bring business to the area,” Lindley says.
Only the third home game of the season, the Carolina vs. Miami match-up should bring a sellout crowd.
Parking is available for Tar Heel Downtown in several locations around town. Stores at University Square will not have parking for customers after 3:00 p.m., but the parking spaces will be able for game day patrons. Buses will also be available to people who park at the Friday Center, University Mall, Southern Village, and Jones Ferry park and ride lots for $5 round trip.
The Chapel Hill transit J and F buses will reroute along Rosemary during Tar Heel Downtown.
Portable bathrooms will be available to people during the event.
Click here for details on parking in downtown Chapel Hill during the event.