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Despite rain and no game, NYE Bowl Bash rolls on in downtown Tucson

Friday's free party runs from 6 p.m. to Midnight
A 'Taco Drop' is set to take place at the end of the countdown to 2022.
Posted at 4:48 PM, Dec 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-31 18:48:31-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Despite COVID cases forcing Boise State to withdraw from the Arizona Bowl and eventually leading to the game being canceled this year, the bowl's organizers are still throwing a free New Year's Eve party in downtown Tucson.

The NYE 'Bowl Bash' runs on Friday night from 6 p.m. to midnight outside Hotel Congress.

It will feature food and drinks, plus live music from Sofia Rankin, Eighties and Gentlemen and Plain White T's leading up to the countdown to 2022.

At midnight, there will be a 'Taco Drop' featuring a massive replica taco, plus fireworks from Hotel Congress.

The event is facing other challenges besides the game being canceled. COVID cases are on the rise and rainy weather is expected throughout the night.

Arizona Bowl Vice President of Communications Eric Rhodes says organizers are asking those who are attending to wear a mask, and that there are tents and nearby businesses where people can escape the rain, if needed.

“In our industry, and especially in the last few days, we are, our mantra is control what we can control," he said. "We can’t control COVID, we can control how we’re being safe with our health and safety."

Rhodes says it was important to hold the event to give the community a place to celebrate and to donate money to local charities.

“It was important for us as a bowl just kind of healing as we were hurting getting our game canceled, to still do something that gives back to our community," Rhodes said. "To be able to do something with 10 to 15 thousand people that’s free… It’s important for Tucson to finish this year with a win.”