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Front Page » Top Stories » Downtown Agency To Help Fund Preorange Bowl Bash

Downtown Agency To Help Fund Preorange Bowl Bash

Written by on October 26, 2006

By Catherine Lackner
Miami’s Downtown Development Authority is spending $50,000 to help bring an eight-hour Orange Bowl event downtown and a throng of visitors to the heart of the city, something not seen as part of the bowl game festivities since the demise of the Orange Bowl Parade.

Board members voted unanimously last week to allocate $50,000 to the Orange Bowl Beach Bash, expected to bring 10,000 people into Margaret Pace Park on the bayfront. The City of Miami is to contribute $80,000.

The Beach Bash, organized by the Orange Bowl Committee, has been held in Hollywood for four years. Most attendees are expected to be fans of the teams that will compete in the Jan. 1 FedEx Orange Bowl, one of the four major college football bowl games. The Beach Bash, noon-8 p.m. the day before the game, is billed as "a tailgate party on a grand scale."

It will be a day of concerts, street food sales and activities tied to the Orange Bowl game in particular and football in general. Pop singer Jessica Simpson is among entertainers who have performed at previous events.

Board members said they supported the event to bring Miami back into the national spotlight after the demise of the Orange Bowl Parade along Biscayne Boulevard, which was featured for decades on national television.

"When we stopped the parade, we didn’t get any more [national] television coverage," said board member Loretta Cockrum.

Attendees are bused to the event, but they may leave the park to visit surrounding neighborhoods, and some may choose to stay in Miami hotels to be near the festivities.

Cristina M. Raecke, authority manager of marketing and community relations, said there’s no guarantee people attending the Beach Bash will stay in Miami hotels but she’s "working with the promoters" to encourage them to do so.

The authority’s agreement with the Orange Bowl Committee stipulates that downtown Miami will be promoted as a principal sponsor of the Beach Bash and that the city will be visually represented in any network television coverage, Ms. Raecke said.

Still, authority board members urged more hands-on contact with the actual event and on the Orange Bowl Committee.

"For $50,000, we should be involved," said board member Sergio Rok. "We should be getting our money’s worth."

Ms. Raecke and Dana Nottingham, authority executive director, said staff members attend events to monitor the tone and coverage the authority receives, and any group receiving event funding from the authority must report benefits that accrue to downtown. Advertisement