SAN DIEGO — Before the University of Oregon and the University of North Carolina take the field for the SDCCU Holiday Bowl, San Diegans and fans from near and far gathered downtown for the Snapdragon Bowl Bash and the Battle of the Bands.

The Ducks and the Tar Heels brought their A-game Tuesday night at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Market Street. The crowd was certainly large, the energy high and the school spirit was endless. From the first beat to the final high kick, the two universities pulled out all their musical weapons.

“It’s so great, we’ve been performing nonstop, I look at the crowd and I just go crazy, and it lifts me up 100 feet. It is so fun,” said Lanelle Love, who is a junior and color guard member at the University of Oregon.

Meanwhile, bittersweet collegiate memories were coming to a close for some, as the Holiday Bowl festivities began.

“My son is one of the four drum majors, and this is the seniors’ last performance. Their performance tomorrow will be their last performance as the marching Tar Heels,” proud University of North Carolina band mom Dawn Hunter shared with FOX 5.

Folks traveled from near and far, clinging to tradition, before both teams hit the gridiron at Petco Park for the stadium’s first-ever football game.

“Between the third and fourth quarter all you Oregon fans know ‘Shout,’ and that Animal House was filmed in Eugene, so I just want to give a shout out to Coach Dan Lanning right here ‘let’s go shout!'” one devoted fan shared with FOX 5 while throwing up a giant “O” formation made with his hands.

This comes after last year’s bowl game, pinning UCLA against NC State was canceled, now leaving fans and San Diegans full of anticipation.

“We’re going to have a big crowd, hoping we have a sell out tomorrow night at Petco Park, we have two great traditional teams Oregon and North Carolina. It’s great for San Diego. It’s great for tourism. It’s what we do here in San Diego,” said Rick Schloss, who’s in charge of Holiday Bowl public relations.

Whether cheering on the University of Oregon or the University of North Carolina, the bands, performers and crowds united downtown, all in the name of good rivalry, school spirit and football.

The Battle of the Bands was just the start, the Holiday Bowl Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. Wednesday along Harbor Dr. After, gates at Petco Park open at 2 p.m. with kick off at 5 p.m.