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Your guide to the 2021 Holiday Bowl

Members of the military holding a U.S. flag on a football field under fireworks
Navy sailors Brittany Hutchinson and Reginald Robbins, both petty officer 2nd Class, help other sailors hold a large American flag for the national anthem during the opening ceremony of the 2019 Holiday Bowl football game between USC and Iowa at SDCCU Stadium on Friday, December 27, 2019 in San Diego, California.
(Hayne Palmour IV/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

UPDATE: The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl game has been canceled. Read more here.

For college football fans, it’s the most wonderful time of the year ... the Holiday Bowl. The longstanding tradition, which was held at the now-demolished San Diego Stadium since its 1978 inception, finds a new home at Petco Park for 2021. In addition to the game between UCLA and NC State, there will be lots of Holiday Bowl events happening throughout downtown San Diego. For more information or to buy tickets, visit holidaybowl.com.

  • Bowl Bash’s Battle of the Bands: Marching bands of UCLA and NC State will face off in Snapdragon Bowl Bash’s Battle of the Bands. After the show, activities — like more live music, street performers, photo booths and face painting — will span four blocks of Gaslamp. 5 p.m. Monday. Throughout Gaslamp Quarter, with bands performing at Fifth Avenue and Market Street. Free.
  • Bowl Bash’s ‘80s Concert: After the Battle of the Bands, head to Petco Park for Snapdragon Bowl Bash’s concert benefiting Rady Children’s Hospital. The lineup spotlights popular bands from the 1980s, including A Flock of Seagulls, The English Beat, Missing Persons and Taylor Dayne. 6 p.m. Monday. 840 K St., Gallagher Square at Petco Park, East Village. $40 for standing room; $55 for seated tickets.
Football players on the field at a previous Holiday Bowl event.
(Holiday Bowl)

  • Holiday Bowl 5K: Get an early start and begin the day with some exercise! Runners and walkers can participate in the National Funding 5K Walk/Run, which offers a scenic route along the waterfront. Everyone will receive a finishers medal and awards will be presented during the post-race party at the finish line. 9:45 a.m. Tuesday. Start line at Harbor Drive and Ash Street, Embarcadero. Registration is $46.
  • Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade: More than 100,000 people are expected to flock to the Holiday Bowl Parade, self-described as the largest balloon parade in America. The progression will showcase marching bands, colorful floats, drill teams and, of course, lots of balloons. A map of the parade route is available to download online. 10 a.m. Tuesday. Along Harbor Drive, Embarcadero. Free to view street side, with limited grandstand tickets available for $25.
  • Pregame party: What’s a football game without a pregame? Arrive at the stadium early for food, drinks, music, giveaways and more. Make sure to get to your seats 30 minutes before kickoff to see the pregame show inside the stadium, featuring marching band performances, parachute jumpers and presentation of The Big Flag. 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday. 840 K St., Gallagher Square at Petco Park, East Village. Free admission with Holiday Bowl ticket.
  • SDCCU Holiday Bowl: Last but not least: college football! This year, the UCLA Bruins take on the NC State Wolfpack for the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, which was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19. 5 p.m. Tuesday. 100 Park Blvd., Petco Park, East Village. Tickets start at $90.

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