Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleaders will be one of the highlights of the "Back to Football Kickoff Party" set for 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at Gibbs Stadium.
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Wofford College and the Spartanburg community are set to celebrate the Carolina Panthers’ 20th summer training camp here as the NFL team opens practice on Saturday, July 26, in Gibbs Stadium.
The celebration kicks off, as it traditionally has, with a community “Back to Football Kickoff Party” from 4 to 9 p.m., with practice set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The events are free and open to the public.
Fans will enjoy interactive activities, sponsor attractions and some of Spartanburg’s most popular food vendors. In-stadium entertainment will include performances by the TopCats cheerleaders, PurrCussion drum line and the Panthers Black & Blue Crew, as well as the ceremonial Mayors’ Ball Run delivery.
The highlight of the evening will feature the 2013 NFC South Champion Carolina Panthers in their opening night training camp practice at Wofford.
“It’s a great opportunity to get close to the action and see your favorite Panthers players begin the 2014 season,” says Riley Fields, Panthers director of community relations. “This free, family-style football bash will have the feel of an excitement filled, high-energy game-day setting in Wofford’s beautiful Gibbs Stadium.
“We are excited to be holding our 20th training camp here in Spartanburg,” Fields adds.
Every summer since 1995, football fans from all over the country have staked their claim on a grassy hill above Wofford’s football practice fields in the hopes of seeing stars of a team that went from an expansion franchise awarded in 1993 and playing its first season in 1995 at Clemson’s Death Valley, to playing in Super Bowl XXXVIII in the 2003 campaign, to a two-decades-old team that boasts fans from around the world.
Wofford and Spartanburg have served as the team’s only site for summer training camp in those 20 years. Through the 2013 season, training camp drew nearly 400,000 visitors to watch practice.
Training camp will run through Tuesday, Aug. 12. All practice sessions are free and open to the public; times and locations are subject to change and may be closed at the discretion of the coaches.
The Panthers plan a number of special free, family-oriented experiences throughout camp, in addition to the “Back to Football Kickoff Party” on July 26.
On Sunday, July 27, Play 60 Day for children of all ages will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on the intramural field near Gibbs Stadium. It includes the Play 60 Kids Combine, inflatables and more activities for the whole family. The Play 60 Kids Combine promotes the NFL’s Play 60 youth fitness initiative through a variety of interactive football drills. Panthers mascot Sir Purr and TopCats cheerleaders will make special appearances. Admission is free.
Panthers Pals presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors will be offered at each practice for children between the ages of 6 and 13. They may register for the opportunity to watch part of practice from field level and then spend time with a player afterward. The program is free, and five children are selected randomly at each practice. The registration tent will be located on the Academy Kids Field adjacent to the entrance to the practice viewing area.
On T-shirt Tuesdays (each Tuesday during camp), following practice, Panthers players will give away a select number of official training camp T-shirts to fans.
A new feature this year, Play 60 Mini Camp at Academy Kids Field will be held Thursday, Aug. 7, and Tuesday, Aug. 11. Children of all ages are invited to participate in an action-packed 30 minute Play 60 Camp on the Academy Kids Field. They will have a chance to participate in football-themed activity stations that are fun for both boys and girls. The Play 60 Mini Camp will begin 30 minutes after the start of the Panthers team practice. (See the practice schedule below or at www.panthers.com/schedule/training-camp/practice-schedule.html.)
Parking for all events is free.
Here is the practice and events schedule, subject to change without notice. (Unless otherwise noted, practices will be held on the practice fields at Wofford.):
Friday, July 25 – 6:30 p.m., Fan Fest (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.)
Saturday, July 26 – 4-9 p.m., “Back to Football Kickoff Party” (Gibbs Stadium)
Saturday, July 26 – 6:30-8:30 p.m. (Gibbs Stadium)
Sunday, July 27 – 2-4:30 p.m., Play 60 Day (intramural field)
Sunday, July 27 – 3:10-5:20 p.m.
Monday, July 28 – 9:25-11:35 a.m.
Tuesday, July 29 – 9:25-11:35 a.m.
Thursday, July 31 – 3:10-5:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 1 – 9:25-11:35 a.m.
Saturday, Aug. 2 – 9:25-11:35 a.m.
Sunday, Aug. 3 – 9:25-11:35 a.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 5 – 3:10-5:20 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 6 – 9:25-11:35 a.m.
Thursday, Aug. 7 – 9:25-11:20 a.m. (Play 60 Mini Camp, Academy Kids Field)
Sunday, Aug. 10 – 6:10-8:20 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 11 – 3:15-5:20 p.m. (Play 60 Mini Camp, Academy Kids Field)
Tuesday, Aug. 12 – 3:10-5:20 p.m.
For information about the “Back to Football Kickoff Party” or other events, contact Laura Corbin, director of news services at Wofford College, at email@example.com or 864-597-4180.