UT football season opener moved, Boomsday rescheduled

UT football season opener moved, Boomsday rescheduled

May 12, 2004

KNOXVILLE (AP and WATE) -- The Tennessee Vols' football season opener is being moved to Sunday night, one day later than originally scheduled.

UT officials agreed to a request from ESPN2 to move the opener against UNLV to 8:00 p.m. to Sunday, September 5 so the game can be televised nationally.

As part of the agreement, the city of Knoxville changed the date of its annual Boomsday fireworks display to Saturday, September 4.

The Boomsday event draws thousands of people to the riverfront and around Neyland Stadium. [ Boomsday 2003 ]

Boomsday, in its 17th year, is the largest single-day event in the state. This year, 300,000 people are expected to attend. Activities will begin at noon September 4. The fireworks will begin at dusk.

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam said, "For Labor day, we're going to provide our greatest crowd ever with a Sunday night ESPN live game with the Tennessee Vols opening up. You know there's not much that compares to an opening week of college football in Knoxville, Tennessee. I don't think anything compares. When we add on to that Boomsday, we think we're going to have the greatest weekend in the whole country. And we're going to welcome a lot of people to Knoxville."

Haslam said Coach Fulmer's job is "...to provide as many fireworks out of the end zone as possible."

The mayor also said the Knoxville Police Department and the city special events crew have gone out of their way to make certain both events will run smoothly during Labor day weekend.

Coach Fulmer said, "We're pleased to have the chance to be on a national stage in primetime basically uncontested, which will be great exposure for us. We're looking forward also to the chance to bring in a number of prospects and families that wouldn't have had a chance to come in because of maybe games in their particular areas that they would be going to."

Before saying yes, city officials did their homework, making sure it was even possible to handle all those people. They said it'll be a challenge to police, traffic, and public service, who now have to change plans. The city has already had a meeting with up to 100 people involved.

The final okay had to come from the company setting off the fireworks. Crews need to get on the Henley Street bridge by Friday night.

Starting at midnight Friday, the bridge and a large section of Neyland Drive will close for Boomsday. Even parts of the river, where the Vol Navy usually docks, will have to be clear for the show.

But officials say the clean up will begin Saturday as soon as the last firework is in the air. And tailgating can start bright and early Sunday morning. As special events director Mickie Mallonee put it, "By 4:00 a.m., we try to have those streets and the bridge back and you cannot tell anything ever happened."

The city plans to get the word out about the changes through a public education and advertising campaign as Labor day gets closer. The campaign will explain the changes, what to do and where to go.

6 News Reporter Steve Gehlbach contributed to this report. Some portions of this report, copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Sep 5 UNLV UNLV Knoxville Stadium Weather Forecast W 42-17
Sep 18 Florida  Florida Knoxville Stadium Weather Forecast W 30-28
Sep 25 Louisiana Tech  Louisiana Tech Knoxville Stadium Weather Forecast W 42-17
Oct 2 Auburn  Auburn Knoxville Stadium Weather Forecast L 34-10
Oct 9 Georgia  Georgia Athens Stadium Weather Forecast W 19-14
Oct 16 Ole Miss  Mississippi Oxford Stadium Weather Forecast W 21-17
Oct 23 Alabama Alabama Knoxville Stadium Weather Forecast W 17-13
Oct 30 South Carolina South Carolina Columbia Stadium Weather Forecast W 43-29
Nov 6 Notre Dame Notre Dame Knoxville Stadium Weather Forecast L 17-13
Nov 20 Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Nashville Stadium Weather Forecast W 38-33
Nov 27 Kentucky  Kentucky Knoxville Stadium Weather Forecast W 37-31
Dec. 4 Auburn  Auburn (SEC) Atlanta Stadium Weather Forecast L 38-28
Jan. 1 Cotton Bowl  Texas A&M (Cotton Bowl) Dallas 11:00 a.m.
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