INDIANAPOLIS — The yearly battle between two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) football teams is back in Indianapolis and fans could not wait until kickoff to show their excitement.
The Circle City Classic organized a pep rally outside of Lucas Oil Stadium Friday night for fans of both North Carolina Central University and Mississippi Valley State University a day before the big game.
The event featured both schools' marching bands as well as several Black vendors outside of the stadium.
Twin sisters Bonita and Vonita Quick are North Carolina Central University graduates who traveled from North Carolina to Indianapolis for the classic. They consider it a showcase of school spirit that can also help Indianapolis' economy.
"HBCU dollars and Black dollars are big," Vonita Quick said. "If you don't believe it, just host an event and watch the people that will come out."
"The love for North Carolina Central is there and it's never going to leave," Bonita Quick said. "I'm always going to be an NCCU supporter."
Scores of Mississippi Valley State fans and graduates also attended the pep rally. That included Ora Lloyd Parker, an Indianapolis resident who graduated from MVSU 50-years-ago.
"As HBCUs, we become family from school to school," said Parker, whose daughter also graduated from MVSU. "Even though we compete against each other, we still consider ourselves family."
The Circle City Classic festivities continue with a parade in downtown Indianapolis at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The game between North Carolina Central and Mississippi Valley State kicks off at 3 p.m. Saturday inside Lucas Oil Stadium.