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Fans pumped for 80th annual Sun Bowl
By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- With just hours until the 80th annual Sun Bowl, fans kicked off the celebration Monday night with the traditional Fan Fiesta party.
Thousands of local and out-of-state fans went to the El Paso Convention Center and were greeted by mariachi bands and dancers.
"The culture and the music and just being able to experience El Paso at the same time. It makes it worth it to come early for the game versus just showing up for the game," said John Barnfather of Los Angeles.
Barnfather came to El Paso this week to watch his nephew play for the UCLA Bruins.
"We've been to the Rose Bowl for all their home games, and we went up to Stanford for that game and now we're coming here for the Sun Bowl," said Barnfather.
Barnfather said out of all the locations he's traveled to for football games, events like Fan Fiesta make the trip memorable.
Kicking off this years Fan Fiesta, people were able to watch a free concert by the band Three Dog Night, watch a huge firework display that shut down Santa Fe Street, and play a lot of games.
Even though Monday night's event was for fun, the night didn't end without some rivalry.
Barnfather turned to his son and asked: "Who are we cheering for?" His son shouted back, "UCLA!"
When Aaron Drazin of Dallas was asked what team he was rooting for, he said, "For the Hokies, because the Hokies have got the win the Sun Bowl."
School bands even battled for fans.
The Sun Bowl, which is the second oldest bowl game in the country, begins at noon Tuesday. The Sun Bowl Association is hosting a free tailgate on the top level of the UTEP parking garage. Coordinators said everyone is welcome.