Fan Activities Set

As Mountaineer faithful prepare to travel south to ring in the New Year in Atlanta and cheer the football team to a Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl win over Georgia, West Virginia University officials have announced official fan activities.

The popular Mountaineer Fan Center, sponsored by WVU's Office of Institutional Advancement, will be set up Sunday and Monday, Jan. 1-2, in the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Imperial Ballroom in downtown Atlanta (265 Peachtree Center).

The Fan Center will operate from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 1 and from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 2, game day. Admittance is free, and all Mountaineer fans are welcome.

Mountaineer faithful should also plan to stop by the Marriott Marquis Saturday, Dec. 31, from 4-6 p.m. for a pre-Sugar Bowl Mardi Gras Parade sendoff. A premiere giveaway - light-up pom-poms - are being provided courtesy of WVU, while supplies last.

In addition, the WVU Mountaineer Marching Band is expected to be on hand to lead fans to the parade route that begins on nearby McGill Street at 7 p.m. and winds its way through the downtown.

WVU's Fan Center will once again be a first-rate event, said Robin Yorty, director of University events and ceremonies. It will include interactive exhibits and activities, video highlights of sports and academic accomplishments, exclusive WVU giveaways each day, photo ops, a "Mountaineer Market" to purchase official WVU bowl merchandise and more.

Back this year for sale at the market will be a commemorative bowl pin. WVU's first commemorative bowl pin was designed in 1989 for WVU's perfect 11-0 regular season and participation in the Fiesta Bowl. The University has continued the tradition for each of the bowl appearances since, except for the two recent Gator Bowl appearances where exclusive pins were not allowed.

Fans can also sign message banners to the team at the Center, enjoy drop-in visits by the cheerleaders, Mountaineer mascot and Mountaineer Marching Band, and be entertained with festive music.

But, perhaps, the Fan Center's most unique feature, Yorty said, will bring attention to WVU's renowned forensic and investigative sciences program by providing fans with hands-on experiences from a staged crime scene investigation.

WVU students, along with Max Houck, former FBI forensic investigator turned university professor, will be on hand to help visitors measure blood spatter, have their fingerprint lifted from a football and identify their telltale footprint from the spilled contents of a sugar bowl.

On game day, Monday, Jan. 2, fans are encouraged to visit the Fan Jam from 5 p.m. to kickoff at the International Plaza - just outside the Georgia Dome. Activities include interactive games, contests, sports memorabilia and more.

Kickoff for the Mountaineers' nationally televised match-up with the Bulldogs is 8:30 p.m.

"WVU's matchup in the 72nd Nokia Sugar Bowl in Atlanta against the University of Georgia should be a terrific game between two strong nationally ranked programs," said WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr. "WVU, with a record of 10-1 and ranked No. 11 in the polls, and Georgia with a record of 10-2 and ranked 8th, both finished as their conference champions. You can't ask for a much better game than that."

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