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Downtown Jacksonville full Saturday with Jaguars, Suns and Sharks events

6:01 PM, Aug 2, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- All three major sports venues in downtown Jacksonville will be open for business on Saturday.

The Jaguars are hosting a scrimmage, free to the public, set to kick off at 6:45 p.m.

The Suns will have a home game at the Baseball Grounds with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. 

And The Sharks have a home playoff game set to kick at 7:00 p.m.

Combine all the events, and that could mean some 30,000 fans filing into downtown on Saturday night.

That's a little less than half of the fans that come to downtown for a typical Jaguars home game, less than a third of how many visit during Florida-Georgia.

So, yes, downtown certainly has practice at this sort of thing, but some business owners say it'll be a nice warm up for what's to come one football season is back in full.

"It will be," said downtown restaurant owner Ian Chase. "Every little bit helps, all the events downtown help."

Chase co-owns Chomp Chomp, a restaurant on Adams Street, an easy walk or rickshaw ride from the sports complex.

"This is definitely going to be a shot of energy here on Adams Street," he said.

But he added it's tough to estimate just how much money will be spent downtown, as the crowds that come in can be unpredictable.

"It's not their fault," he said. "But a lot of folks just come in, they go to an event, they get in their car and go home."

He's hoping that after an event like One Spark, which brought a great deal of attention downtown, more people will be responsive to sticking around for a meal or a drink before calling it a night.

Ultimately, he said that people need to discover the reasons for coming downtown, and businesses need to help them with that.

"If you do it, and you do it well, they're going to come."

First Coast News

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