UGA to celebrate the Georgia Bulldogs with parade, celebration at Sanford Stadium

University of Georgia Bulldog fans are getting excited about the parade that will celebrate their favorite team’s first championship in 41 years.

School officials and police are preparing for Saturday’s parade and working to make sure it goes off without a hitch.

Meanwhile, students are gearing up for the big celebration.

“It’s going to be insane. We welcome the team back to Athens,” said UGA student Jackson Popkim.

Popkim plans to be front and center for the parade. He will be cheering on the team.

“This is going to be fantastic. I mean they haven’t won in 41 years in my lifetime,” he pointed out.

Thousands of Bulldog fans are expected to line the streets.

The parade will start at Butts-Mehre Hall Saturday and then work its way down South Lumpkin Street on to Sanford Stadium. The parade starts at 12:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be rowdy,” said Amy Thurber.

She works at a floral design shop on Lumpkin Street along the parade route.

She’s not concerned about the crowds impacting her customers because she plans to mix a little business with pleasure.

“We’ll be out. We’ll be partying too. We’ll all be here” she said.

So will plenty of police.

“I can say we are taking measures to ensure safety during and after the celebration,” said Lt. Shaun Barnett with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.

That includes officers in different patrol zones, traffic control and extra officers on duty.

School officials say they are treating the parade like game day, except some streets will be closed.

“The route that we take for the parade processional right here on Lumpkin will be closed down,” said Alan Thomas, associate athletic director for external operations. That’s from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Popkim said he can’t wait.

“I’m sure it’s going to be mind-blowing in every way,” he said, excitedly.

Complimentary tickets to get inside Sanford Stadium for the formal part of the celebration have been sold out. That part of the celebration starts at 2 p.m.

The Dawg Walk where the players walk into the stadium starts at 1 p.m.

Expect to see the players on stage with the Championship Trophy.

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