The University of Tennessee Athletics Department in conjunction with Host Communications/The Vol Network will host the first-ever “Big Orange Blast” on Sept. 6 in Knoxville’s Market Square.
WVLT, Volunteer TV Will Broadcast Many Of The Festivities LIVE, from 6:00-8:00p & It'll be LIVE from 7:00-8:00p on Volunteertv.com.
The “Big Orange Blast” will be a free community-wide pep rally to kick-off the 2007 UT home football season. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. with performances by Kimberly Ainge, Waycross and Jason D. Williams. Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer and select members of the Tennessee football team will participate with the Pride of the Southland Marching Band, UT cheerleaders and Smokey at the Thursday night pep rally.
“Tennessee has a tremendous fan base,” said Mike Hamilton, men’s athletics director. “This event is a great opportunity for us to get into the community and celebrate the start of football season with the fans that fill our stadium every week.”
The event, which is presented by Mayfield Dairy, Regal Entertainment Group and Lowe’s Ferry, will be set up like “Sundown in the City” and feature select food vendors such as Texas Roadhouse, Domino’s Pizza and the Wild Wing Café along with the eateries of Market Square. Tennessee Traditions, the athletics department’s souvenir provider, will be on site with Big Orange apparel as well.
The bands participating in the event all have special ties to Tennessee. Kimberly Ainge is the older sister of Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge. Waycross recently released a song entitled “Nineteen,” which features lyrics about playing football at Tennessee. Jason D. Williams is a Memphis native and has performed before fans and U.S. presidents alike with his dynamic high-energy piano playing, classic vocal style and unparalleled showmanship.
“The ‘Big Orange Blast’ is a great way to kick-off the 2007 home football season and celebrate the passion of our loyal fans,” said Steve Early, vice president and general manager of the Vol Network. “We are excited to present this inaugural event at Market Square in downtown Knoxville.”
Special “Big Orange Blast” T-shirts are available at utsports.com and at the event for $10. A portion of those proceeds goes to the Jason Foundation Inc., a teen suicide prevention group that is near and dear to Fulmer.
“We are blessed to have great, supportive fans at Tennessee,” Fulmer said. “I think this will be a great event for the community, our team and our university. I am especially pleased that we will be able to help out the Jason Foundation at the same time.”
The Jason Foundation was founded in 1997 in response to a family’s personal grief and deep commitment to saving youth lives. Clark Flatt, president and founder of the Jason Foundation, lost his 16-year-old son, Jason, to the silent epidemic of youth suicide and turned his energies toward reducing the number of youth suicides. The Jason Foundation’s mission is to educate young people, parents, teachers and others who work with young people about youth suicide.
Fulmer became involved with the foundation in 1998 as national spokesperson. The Vols head coach has been very active in the organization while serving as spokesperson and has recruited 36 college and two NFL coaches as ambassadors for the group.
UT’S SMOKEY UP FOR MASCOT HALL OF FAME:
Tennessee Spirit Squad Mascot Smokey is among six collegiate candidates and six from the professional ranks for induction into the Mascot Hall of Fame. Online voting is underway and continues through Sept. 6.
These Mascot characters have entertained and inspired millions of fans through the years and the Mascot Hall of Fame executive committee is proud to include them on the ballot. All 12 nominees have a chance to be inducted in the 2007 class. If inducted, these characters will join the Phillie Phanatic, the Phoenix Suns Gorilla and Famous Chicken who were inducted in 2005, along with last year’s class made up of Clutch the Bear, KC Wolf, The Jazz Bear, YoUDee, Aubie and Bucky Badger.
Lil Red (University Of Nebraska)
Sparty (Michigan State University)
Sebastian The Ibis (University Of Miami)
Smokey (The University Of Tennessee)
Brutus Buckeye (Ohio State University)
Big Red (Western Kentucky University)
Hugo The Hornet (New Orleans Hornets)
Mr. Met (New York Mets)
The Coyote (San Antonio Spurs)
Mariner Moose (Seattle Mariners)
Youppi (Montreal Expos/Canadians)
The Oriole Bird (Baltimore Orioles)
Go online at www.mascothalloffame.com to cast your vote for your favorite professional and collegiate mascot! Voting is open through Sept. 6, 2007.
“The Mascot Hall of Fame has been created to honor great mascot performers, performances, and character branding programs that have inspired tradition and positively affected their communities,” said David Raymond, president of the Mascot Hall of Fame executive committee and the original Phillie Phanatic. The Mascot Hall of Fame Executive Committee came together to review all the nominations sent into the Mascot Hall of Fame and these great characters were chosen to make the ballot. This committee includes such sports luminaries as Mike Veeck of the Goldklang Group; Dennis Lehman of the Cleveland Indians; Suzy Kolber, ESPN host and anchor; Jon Spoelstra, author of Marketing Outrageously, and other prominent figures in the world of sports.
Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information & Public Relations