Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why do we call it the Cocktail Party?

For anyone who has attended a Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville, we all know why someone would call it the world's larget outdoor cocktail party. Despite the wishes of The University of Georgia, the University of Florida, or the SEC, the name is a perfect description of what takes place during the final week of October each fall on the banks of the Saint Johns River. But where did the name get its start?

Bill Kastelz began working for the Florida Times-Union as a sports writer in 1947. While covering the annual Georgia-Florida match up in Jacksonville during the 50's, he witnessed an intoxicated fan offer a cocktail to another person just outside of the Gator Bowl. It was not shocking that the drunk fan would offer another person a drink, the interesting circumstance that Kastelz observed was the fact that the person being offered a cocktail was a uniformed police officer. Kastelz would go onto describe the scene as The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party and the name has withstood the test of time.

Kastelz would continue to cover Florida sports for the Times-Union and would later cover the successful Alabama Crimson Tide teams under Bear Bryant. Bill Kastelz retired from writing in 1982 and passed away in 2002. So here's a drink to you Mr. Kastelz, we'll all carry on the tradition of the cocktail party this year and for many years to come.

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