Gameday in the Bluegrass: Things to know ahead of UK football’s sold-out game vs. Florida

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 3:43 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - We’re getting ready for a big game day in Lexington.

Mayor Linda Gorton has declared Saturday “Beat Florida Day,” as the Cats face the Gators at Kroger Field.

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A sellout crowd is expected for the matchup, so Friday night, fans and restaurants alike prepped for an atmosphere which will be the first of its kind at Kroger Field since before the pandemic began.

“Born and raised right here in Kentucky, graduated from here in 2019, so it’s been a family tradition,” Chandler Smith said.

Smith was one of many to stake his claim for a tailgate spot more than 24 hours in advance.

“There will be about 20 or 30 of us probably just in our little gang,” Smith said.

Since he set up, Smith is off cooking duty. But he’s hoping they’ll grill up some gator.

“There was talk about it, I’m hoping it’s on the menu, I really am,” Smith said.

Lexington restaurants are filling the void with catering orders for those who aren’t doing their own cooking. J. Render’s owner Gwyn Everly calls it a return to normal after the way that these businesses were hit by the pandemic.

“It’s a beautiful day in the bluegrass, it’s fall, Keeneland’s coming, you know, people are in town, the stadiums going to be full,” Everly said.

Her restaurant is taking orders for hundreds of people, even from behind enemy lines.

“The biggest thing we have for the game is there is a group of Gators, they’ve ordered 135 meals that we’re gonna be dropping off,” Everly said.

Elsewhere, Red State BBQ is expecting to feed as many as 2,000 people just based off orders they’ve already received.

“We’re pumping out about 1,000 wings, and when you factor in all the pork and brisket and chicken and everything, there’s another 1,000 pounds or so and that doesn’t even include what’s going to come through the door,” owner David Carroll said.

Kentucky Football is asking fans on the north (away) side of Kroger Field, plus the student section, to wear white. The south (home) side, are asked wear to wear blue.

Here are some other important reminders for fans:

  • Arrive early! With a sellout crowd expected for the first time since capacity restrictions were removed, we recommend fans arrive early to avoid pregame issues associated with such a highly anticipated game.
  • Gates 4, 9, 12 and Suites/Commonwealth Tower Lobby will open at 4 p.m. ET (two hours prior to kickoff). All other public gates open at 4:30 p.m. (90 mins prior).
  • Look for your assigned gate on your mobile ticket and enter Kroger Field there.
  • The Cat Walk, presented by Kentucky Select Chevy Dealers, is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. ET at Gate 1, along Talbott Todd Way, and at Gate 12.
  • Prepare for Gameday now! Be sure to access your mobile tickets and parking pass before arriving to the game. Save your tickets and parking pass to your phone’s digital wallet to avoid connectivity issues and to allow yourself time to troubleshoot and seek assistance if needed.
  • Bring your mask! Regardless of vaccination status, everyone will be required to wear a mask while visiting indoor areas within Kroger Field. Masks will not be required in the concourse areas or in the upper or lower seating bowls of the stadium as well as outside club seating and suites with the windows open if you are fully vaccinated. All fans are strongly encouraged to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, while not actively eating or drinking.
  • Gameday information is available at
  • Clear bags are required. Visit for details.
  • The Game Day Assistance program enables fans to start a conversation with UK Athletics staff. Fans can text UK MESSAGE & SEAT LOCATION to 69050.
  • Gameday ticket office windows  Located between gates 9 and 10, opens four hours prior to kickoff and closes five minutes into the third quarter.

Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m. ET.

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