Florida Classic draws thousands to Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — It's a big football weekend in Central Florida.

The Florida Classic puts Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University against Bethune-Cookman at Camping World Stadium on Saturday.

Orlando has hosted the game since 1997. Fans were already tailgating Friday afternoon.

Many vendors are already set up and the city has inspected food trucks and other food and beverage vendors all along Tampa Avenue.

The game is well-known as a moneymaker and as a weekend for visitors that can't be beat from a sales perspective

"They absolutely love their schools, and when people love their schools, they want to represent their school so they come buy the paraphernalia. They wear it proudly,” said vendor operator Tia James-Dozier.

Businesses downtown are bracing for huge crowds, as the Florida Classic is joined by huge events at the Amway Center and for "College GameDay" at the University of Central Florida.

There are four major sporting events happening over the course of about 36 hours this weekend.

It means areas will be packed, and downtown bars and restaurants are telling employees it's all hands on deck.

“The weekends have been exciting,” said tailgater Anthony Starling. “We're just looking forward to a wonderful game, an exciting evening out here with all of our friends.”

On Saturday, downtown Orlando saw constant action from the 2 p.m. Florida Classic kickoff to the Orlando Magic game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Amway Center.

Florida Classic fans will be joined at downtown Orlando sports bars by UCF fans who come to watch that game.