The AFL Grand Final holiday is the newest public holiday in the state of Victoria. The date of the holiday is on the Friday preceding the Australian Football League Grand Final. The holiday is also referred to as “AFL Grand Final Friday”.
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“Grand Final Friday” has been promoted by the current government of Victoria and is a campaign promise kept for the sitting Victorian Premier. Despite the economic costs, which are estimated at $850 million by a 28-day government study, supporters of the new holiday hold it up as a chance to spend more time with family and friends. Of course, it is also a chance to celebrate Australia’s national game, football, which sometimes seems closer to a “fanatical obsession” than a mere pastime.
This is not the only sports holiday in Victoria, since the state already had celebrated Melbourne Cup Day. Thus, Australia’s love for aussie rules, at least as strong as its love for horse racing, now has achieved a symbolic status by its stopping of a state for a full day.
The sport of football has deep roots in Victoria. The Australian Football League (AFL) was originally known as the Victorian Football League (VFL) because all of its teams were within the bounds of Victoria. From 1897 through 1989, it was the VFL, but in 1990, the league’s expansion during the 80s to four other states was finally recognised by the name change.
There are now 18 teams in the AFL, at least one in every state but Tasmania. The AFL season has three parts: a pre-season, a regular season from March till September, and a play off season. The play offs involve the eight teams with the best records and run four rounds. They culminate in the AFL Grand Final, which always is held in the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne.
AFL Grand Final Holiday Events
The things you don’t want to miss if in Victoria on AFL Grand Final Holiday are as follows:
- The parade. Thousands line the streets to watch the parade pass by on Grand Final Eve. You will see fans dressed in full uniform, waving flags, colourful balloons, team mascots, and more as the parade moves from the Old Treasury Building, past the CBD, and to the stadium.
- The Central Business District (CBD). This will be the most bustling part of town. You will see numerous souvenir shops where you can buy T-shirts, beanies, scarves, and more with team colours and logos. There are plenty of quality cafes and bakeries to stop and relax at as well.