Tuscaloosa businesses prepping for Iron Bowl crowds

Local News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Get ready to yell “Roll Tide” and “War Eagle!” The Iron Bowl is just days away and this year, Alabama and Auburn will go head-to-head in Tuscaloosa.  

Every time the rivalry game is played in Tuscaloosa, it’s a big deal for the economy. Erin Barfield is already getting prepared for what she hopes is a busy week, she is a manager at Chuck’s Fish in Tuscaloosa.

“This Iron Bowl weekend, I think it to be honest will be a bit a lot slower. We saw a little bit of a downtick with Kentucky but it is Iron Bowl you never know. We’re hopeful and we will be ready and I think the gameday crew will be in town so that might help bring some energy,” Barfield said.

Barkley Garrett says just having this big game is a major blessing for Tuscaloosa. He is the vice president of Economic Development at the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. Garrett says back in March many were not even sure there would be a football season.

“We would love to see the stadium full with one hundred thousand screaming fans and tailgaters before and afterward. But sadly because of COVID, we have those restrictions and we can only have 20% capacity at the stadium and we don’t have tailgating on campus. So, it’s definitely looking different,” Garrett said.

Barfield is hoping for the best this week.

“I think everyone knows Tuscaloosa is a football town and these businesses downtown thrive on it and we have to have it to sustain us in these slow times. Students are gone a little longer this year and that will hurt but hope they will be back in January. But these big game weekends make or break us,” Barfield said.

On a typical Iron Bowl weekend, the Chamber of Commerce says Tuscaloosa usually generates $20 million in revenue, but the city will not see anything close to that this year because of COVID-19.


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