The Alley will shut down Friday night for a college football kick off party, the proceeds of which will go toward the purchase of a police dog in memory of a slain Aiken officer.


Pep Rally in The Alley will take place from 6 to 11 p.m. in The Alley.


“We noticed that people really love to come downtown for events when The Alley is shut down,” said Dr. Philip Jordan of Aiken Physical Medicine, one of the event's sponsors. “So many people are ready for football season, so we decided we would kick things off a week early and try to do something fun, something special in The Alley.”


The event will replicate a college football tailgate atmosphere, Jordan said. There will be tailgate foods, music provided by a disc jockey, raffles and prizes. There will also be games, including a cornhole tournament and a ring toss tournament.


“Basically, we're going to transform The Alley into a college tailgate,” Jordan said. “It's gonna be like you've walked onto a college campus.”


The Game Dudes of Augusta will be providing a mobile video game station where a video game football tournament will be played.


The event is free but cash donations will be accepted at the gate.


Donations, as well as entrance fees for the tournaments, will go toward the purchase of a police canine in memory of Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers of the Aiken Department of Public Safety.


Rogers was shot and killed in the line of duty on Jan. 28, 2012.


Her sister, Jenny, started a fundraising initiative in March to purchase a police canine named “Sandman” in Rogers' memory. The cost for a new puppy and training would be about $8,000.


“This will definitely put us way over the top,” Jenny Rogers said of Friday's event. “I thought it was wonderful that they would think of my project to help me give back to the city (with) something for my sister.”


In addition to the games, Atlantic Broadband will be airing the Aiken High School-Strom Thurmond football game on a large projector screen.


Alcohol will be available for purchase, but attendees must be at least 21 years old and show ID to receive a bracelet.


Jordan said the event will still be family friendly, and that anyone under 21 is welcome to attend.


Attendees are also encouraged to wear their favorite collegiate team's colors.


Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012.