INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis has finally made it to the grand finale of a busy few days downtown.
The College Football Playoff National Championship, between Alabama and Georgia, has drawn thousands of fans to Indianapolis. Though the game isn’t until Monday night at 8 p.m., fans have poured in for events leading up to the game since the weekend.
“This is my first time being here, to a national championship that is, I’m very excited,” said Kamylle Parker, who came from Birmingham, Alabama.
One of the first things fans noticed upon arrival to Indianapolis is the weather.
Bone chilling temperatures welcomed out of town guests since the weekend, starting off with freezing rain and impacting some of the events scheduled.
“It is so cold here!” said Sharon Ward, Alabama resident. “That’s the only experience I can tell you about now, but it’s exciting to be downtown in Indianapolis to go to Lucas Oil Stadium to see the tide bring home a victory!”
“It’s cold! It’s freezing!” said Aubrey Slaughter from Georgia. “We did not prepare for this weather, did not expect it, but we knew were coming in to it so we packed for extra warmth!”
Despite the bitter cold, Slaughter, who made the road trip to Indianapolis with her dad and sister, says it’s been a smooth ride navigating throughout the city.
“We had a really easy time getting into town this morning,” she said. “For the most part, really haven’t had a whole lot of lines or anything.”
Rita Patterson, who made the trip Sunday night from Alabama, says it was an easy commute getting to town.
“No problems. No ice on the roads. The streets were great, and we’re looking forward to an awesome win! Roll Tide,” she exclaimed.
The large crowds coming in to Indiana for the CFB Playoff events arrive as the state battles another surge in COVID-19 cases. No COVID restrictions were implemented for the championship game, or events leading up to it, but organizers are encouraging masks, testing and vaccinations.
Slaughter, who also works in health care with her sister, says she feels comfortable being among the crowds for the festivities.
“Everyone kind of seems to be doing a good job and playing their part,” said Slaughter. “We feel very safe, we’re both health care workers. So we kind of know what it’s like and where we’re coming from. So we feel comfortable and we’ve enjoyed the experience so far.”
Parker, along with her group of friends, say they also feel safe and plan to mask up during the festivities.
“I feel protected,” Parker said. “Normally, I’m just really on edge about everything, but I think everyone seems to be doing their due diligence, especially us, and as long as we have our mask on, we’re good.”