Green Fever is spreading throughout Denton.
From fans buying gear to businesses offering specials and discounts, the community is lining up to show its support as the University of North Texas Mean Green heads into its first bowl game since 2004 in a face-off with the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Fans were turning out Monday to visit Barefoot Athletics at 207 N. Elm St., where regular Mean Green T-shirts are on sale for $10, said store manager Meredith Persinger.
“People are coming in and getting their gear,” she said. “We have a lot of signage, but we don’t have bowl T-shirts this year.”
The store opened early in 2013, so this is its first football season, Persinger said. Sales of UNT products have increased this season since last spring and summer. The sale continues today before scheduled festivities to celebrate the game begin.
There will be no shortage of opportunities to wear the new gear.
A pep rally is set to start at 5 p.m. today in Dallas at the Band Shell in Fair Park, south of the Cotton Bowl, and UNT is hosting a special New Year’s Eve party for fans at the Tower Club in Thanksgiving Tower.
The official Mean Green Tailgate event starts at 8 a.m. at the Embarcadero Building in Fair Park on New Year’s Day and the game starts at 11 a.m. in the Cotton Bowl.
Those who don’t go to Dallas until Wednesday can get free service to and from the game with a voucher for the A-train, including a transfer to Dallas Area Rapid Transit for the final leg to Dallas. The vouchers are still available today at the Euline Brock Downtown Denton Transit Center.
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop on Industrial Street is hoping to lure in those headed to the game and those who’d rather just stay closer to home.
On Wednesday, customers who tell the cashier they are going to the game can get buy-one, get-one-free breakfast tacos, said Mel Knight, co-owner of the shop. Those who decide to stay will also find game-day specials.
“If you’re looking for a place to watch the game, we’ll have drink specials on beer and margaritas, and if you’re riding the train, come on by and grab some breakfast tacos,” Knight said.
Some local bars such as Lucky Lou’s and East Side Social Club will open early on New Year’s Day for fans who don’t want to travel to Dallas. Lucky Lou’s will open at 11 a.m. and East Side Social Club will open at 10:30 a.m.
Rusty Taco will have half-off beers, margaritas and sides all day for those who want to celebrate, and Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain will give fans in apparel or with a ticket stub 10 percent off their order.
Bosses Pizza will also give fans in Mean Green colors 10 percent off all food purchases on New Year’s Day.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.
IF YOU GO
Heart of Dallas Pep Rally, 5 to 6 p.m., Band Shell at Fair Park, 1465 First Ave., Dallas. Free. Players and coaches from the University of North Texas and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas will attend, with the school bands and cheerleaders to celebrate the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
New Year’s Eve Celebration, 8:30 p.m., Tower Club at Thanksgiving Tower, 1601 Elm St., Dallas. Cost is $70 for a single event; $75 for package with tailgate ticket. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster.com at bit.ly/KhHwqO. North Texas will host a New Year’s Eve party, featuring local band The Project, appetizers and a cash bar. A champagne toast is scheduled for midnight.
Mean Green Tailgate, 8 to 10:30 a.m., Embarcadero Building at Fair Park, 1229 Admiral Nimitz Circle, Dallas. Cost is $15 for single event; $75 for package with New Year’s Eve party ticket. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster.com or at event with cash. The Green Brigade marching band, UNT cheerleaders, dancers and mascot Scrappy will help generate excitement before the game. Tickets to tailgate include two breakfast tacos and sausage wrap with Mean Green chili stew; a cash bar will be available.
Free transportation on the A-train: The Denton County Transportation Authority will offer free service on the A-train to and from the game with a voucher, which includes a transfer to Dallas Area Rapid Transit for the final leg to Dallas. Vouchers are still available today at the Euline Brock Downtown Denton Transit Center. The A-train will depart at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday for the game and will leave at 3:11 p.m. or 30 minutes after the game ends. Downtown Denton Transit Cente is at 604 E. Hickory St.
Heart of Dallas Bowl, kickoff at 11 a.m., Cotton Bowl, 3750 The Midway, Dallas. Televised on ESPNU. Tickets still available on Ticketmaster.com.