BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The countdown to Alabama A&M and Alabama State University taking Legion Field during the 78th Annual Magic City Classic is underway.
The football teams will face off Saturday at 2:30 p.m., but the excitement surrounding the largest historically black college and university (HBCU) football game in the country has already started.
WATCH: 78th Annual Magic City Classic Kick-off press conference
Earlier this month, Shaquille O’Neal was named this year’s ambassador, and it was announced rapper 2 Chainz would headline the post-game concert.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is asking fans which songs they would like to hear at the performance.
Birmingham native Jermaine “FunnyMaine” Johnson is set to emcee the game.
Tailgating areas around Legion Field opened to fans Monday morning.
Several Bulldogs’ and Hornets’ supporters will spend the entire week camping out and celebrating the rivalry.
Birmingham police also announced road closures that would be in effect during the week.
Closures include: 1st Street W at Graymont Avenue, 1st Street W at 8th Avenue N, Center Street at 6th Avenue N, and the 100 block of 6th Avenue W alley.
The official “Classic Kickoff” starts Thursday night at the BJCC east ballroom.
The community is invited to meet the cheerleaders from both schools, followed by music and food.
Festivities continue into Friday with a concert at Boutwell Auditorium.
Then Saturday, crowds will be out by 8 a.m. for a parade through Birmingham’s north side.
This year’s parade route starts at 18th Street N and 7th Avenue N and ends at 16th Street N and 4th Avenue N.
The full map is below.
After the parade, fans tailgate until the teams take the field.
Last year, AAMU won 27-10.
AAMU leads the series 40-34-4.
You can learn more about the game and this week’s events here.
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