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The Circle City Classic is still attracting thousands 39 years later

39th annual circle city classic.jpg
Posted at 3:16 AM, Sep 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-14 03:16:45-04

INDIANAPOLIS — It's that time of the year again for the Circle City Classic.

Starting Sunday, Sept. 17, thousands will flood downtown Indianapolis for networking events and so much more.

"I did all throughout high school in marching band," Karrajah Smith said.

"I really only ever got to the parade, so that's what I like to see — The band, majorettes,” Darryn Ely said.

The Circle City Classic is an annual football game featuring two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). It has been held for 39 years and counting.

“You got two HBCUs playing against each other, here of all places. That's amazing," Smith said.

The Circle City Classic is one of the first HBCU bowl games in the Midwest.

"The goal is to just to showcase African Americans, HBCU schools, expose our youth to the opportunities and give them a vision of what it's like to participate in the HBCU game," Alice Watson, President & CEO of Indiana Black Expo, said.

In the Midwest, there are only six HBCUs. None of them are in Indiana, which makes this classic that much more important, continuously attracting thousands every year.

"This is all about the youth. That's really what we do and it's just another window of opportunity to expose the schools, but it takes a massive undertaking," Watson said.

Although many may see the pep rally, concert, parade, tailgate, and game, the weekend-long event is more than just another social event. It's all done with a purpose. This year, adding something new.

"We have a talent day career fair, which is the first of its kind really attracting African American students and the students across the state of Indiana. We call it where fortune meets future," Watson said.

"I think that it fosters this feeling of togetherness 100%, and anything it people around people always happy that's always a good thing," Smith said.

Watson said they usually see at least 50,000 people at the parade.

The festivities kick off this Sunday with the Circle City Classic Coronation. Leading up to the big game on Saturday, Sept. 23rd at Lucas Oil Stadium between Mississippi Valley State University and North Carolina Central University.

For more information about Circle City Classic events, click here.