Countdown to sixth anual Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl

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Staff report

The Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl will return to Florida Atlantic University stadium this month, but this year the game will played during primetime.

The match-up will be announced on Dec. 8.

The bowl game has conference tie-ins with teams from Conference USA, the American Athletic Conference and the Mid-American Athletic Conference.

The showdown will head to Boca at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 21. If you can’t make it to the game, catch it on a new network this year, ABC.

Events leading into the bowl game have already taken place and some are scheduled to take place before the big game.

The Great Chefs Tailgate Showcase took place last month at the Boca Renaissance Hotel. Local restaurants, brew masters and mixologists competed to take home the coveted Grand Champion award.

The panel of judged selected the Boca Raton Resort as the grand champion. The resort served two dishes, a sloppy joe and a creamy polenta. The judges agreed both submissions were the overall winners of the dozens of dishes they sampled.

The crowd voted Caesar’s Famous Ribs as the winner of the People’s Choice Award. Everyone was given one ticket to vote for their favorite bite. The judges crowned Cinnaholic Boca Raton as the Most Spirited.

This year’s culinary events raised over $15,000 for Spirit of Giving.

Still to come— Bowl week activities, which kick-off on Dec. 17.

The teams will arrive on Dec. 17. That day there will be a head coaches conference and two welcome parties, one at Wyndham Grand Jupiter at Harbourside Place and one at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

Dec. 18, two beach parties, one at Carlin Park in Jupiter and one at Lake Worth Pier/Benny’s on the Beach.

Dec. 19, there will be a south county community outreach event and north county community outreach event.

Dec. 20, there will be a pep rally at Abacoa Amphitheater and one at Mizner Park at 7 p.m. The Mizner Park event “Boca’s Country Music BBQ” will take place from 6-9 p.m. The community is invited to come out to dine, dance and cheer at Boca’s Country Music BBQ, the official pre-party Palm Beach County’s own sanctioned Bowl game. Hosted by the City of Boca Raton and Spirit of Giving on the night before the game, a live country band Shadow Creek Band will fill the amphitheater with a blend of western, bluegrass, rockabilly, honky-tonk and country rock music. There will be food truck barbecue eats, picnic table seating, interactive activities, country dancing, pop-up vendors, and community camaraderie plus spirited performances by the team’s cheer and dance squads to rally to rev up for their conference championship team. Admission is free; food, beverages (including beer and cocktails) and vendor purchases are not included. Attendees are welcome to bring a chair or blanket. Chairs will also be for rent inside the venue for $5 cash.

Dec. 21, And then before kick-off, the Built Ford Tough Fan Fest and Family Midway event will feature family fun tailgating at FAU stadium. The festivities begin at noon and are free with a ticket to the game.

Tickets are $32 for end zone seating, $57 for sideline seating, $375 for club seating, and $12,000 for suites. To purchase tickets, call  361-362-3650 or visit www.cheribundibocaratonbowl.com

Boca Bowl by the numbers

1 Only NCAA-sanctioned post-season college bowl game in Palm Beach County
6 Number of years
12 million To date, the cumulative households tuned in for live airing on ESPN
50 To date, total hours on global TV (live and replays)
6,500 To date, total attendees at VIP Hospitality “Tailgate” Tent Festivities
122,182 Game attendees so far
60,138 Visits to bowl websites
9 Number of teams that have kicked off (UAB, NIU-twice, Marshall, Temple, Toledo, Western Kentucky, Memphis, FAU, Akron
25 Boca Raton Bowl alum players who have been on an opening day NFL roster.
17 NFL teams that have a player with Boca Bowl experience, including Super Bowl Champion Jake Elliott
$309,323+ Funds raised to benefit nonprofit Spirit of Giving
31,380+ Tickets provided to community nonprofit, schools, veterans
19,000 Online votes for three Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl National Anthem contests
50 How many cherries in each Cheribundi bottle.