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Army-Navy game "1 of the biggest weekends" for Philadelphia

Army-Navy game attracts people from around the country
Army-Navy game attracts people from around the country 02:15

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The field is set for the annual Army-Navy football game kicking off Saturday on CBS3. This is the 90th time the game is being played in Philadelphia.

Before the Army-Navy clash on the gridiron, other members of the two academies faced off in a series of athletic challenges all throughout the city as they continue the 123-year rivalry.

The mission for these Army cadets and Navy midshipmen and -women is to win the Patriot Games. The pre-games are a two-day event where the branches compete in a variety of physical challenges ahead of Saturday afternoon's big game.

Ann Jaede's granddaughter is competing for the Navy in the pull-up challenge. The family came to Philadelphia from Minnesota.

"Just the whole ambiance. It's all wonderful. It's a lot of fun," Jaede said.

Pat McGivney's daughter is an Army cadet. They came all the way from San Diego.

"It's an experience of a lifetime," McGivney said. "Everyone should try and do it once in a lifetime."

Jaede and McGivney are two of 50,000 people visiting Philadelphia for the Army-Navy game.

Larry Needle of Philadelphia's Convention and Visitors Bureau's PHL Sports estimates about 31,000 hotel room nights have been booked for this weekend.

"Army-Navy is truly one of the biggest weekends of the year for the city," Needle said. "We couldn't be more excited."

Army-Navy game "1 of the biggest weekends" for Philadelphia 02:18

Although after this year, the game will not return until 2027.

"We are going to miss you our hearts will be broken for a few years and can't wait until you come back," Mayor Jim Kenney said.

Aside from the 50,000 people visiting this weekend, it's a chance to honor our nation's military and thank them for their service. Not just a big weekend economically, but symbolically for the nation.

"I think it shows togetherness and happiness and good things," Jaede said.

"It symbolizes everything that we stand for; that we have dedicated, committed, young people to serve our nation and give up everything that they have," McGivney said.

There were also activities in Camden at the Battleship New Jersey.

The countdown to game day is on and there's only one place to watch the Army take on the Navy.

It's right here on CBS3 Saturday at 3 p.m.

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