CHICAGO — After four years, a college football tradition in Chicago that also features many events off the field is ready to return.

That happens this weekend, and the celebration was underway on Friday.

The Chicago Football Classic will be played this Saturday at Soldier Field as Central State University will face Mississippi Valley State University at 3 p.m. You can watch the game on WGN-TV, Channel 9.

Organizers are celebrating the 25 anniversary of the contest that features two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) as it returns for the first time since 2019. On Friday, organizers of the event along with a number of local politicians gathered for a kickoff celebration at Soldier Field.

Started in 1997 by Larry Huggins, Everett Rand and Tim Rand, it’s an game that was created to bring more exposure to HBCUs in Chicago. While the showcase event is the football contest, there are numerous events that have taken place this week and will occur Friday and Saturday.

As an annual part of the event, scholarships will be awarded to HBCUs to students from around Chicagoland, with over $250,000 being given out in 2023.

A “Battle of the Bands” happened at Daley Plaza at Noon on Friday with an HBCU College and Career Fair slated to happen at Soldier Field Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. A vendor marketplace that will help support Black businesses will take place at Soldier Field from 1 p.m. until the end of the game.

WGN News Now is provided live coverage of the opening celebration news conference for the 2023 Chicago Football Classic at Soldier Field, which you can watch in the video above.