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Lowe’s Kickoff Party welcomes Panthers to Wofford

July 28 celebration surrounds first training camp practice

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Carolina Panthers mascot Sir Purr entertains at the Lowe's Kickoff Party, scheduled this year for July 28.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Carolina Panthers’ 2016 summer training camp, presented by Lowe’s, opens Thursday, July 28, at Wofford College’s Gibbs Stadium with the Lowe’s Kickoff Party. The team will practice from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Gibbs Stadium.

The celebration, which will be from 4 to 9 p.m., and practice are free and open to the public. Training camp will run through Tuesday, Aug. 16. For a full schedule of practice times (subject to change), go to www.panthers.com/schedule/training-camp.html.

This is the 22nd year the NFL team, the 2015 NFC Champions who appeared in last season’s Super Bowl, has held summer training at Wofford.

“Since the beginning of the Carolina Panthers, our training camp has been held at Wofford College, and we continue to have outstanding support from Wofford and the city of Spartanburg,” team President Danny Morrison says. “They have always made sure our camp is a first-class, family friendly experience for our fans.”

“We are so proud to be the host site for the Panthers training camp,” Wofford President Nayef Samhat says. “The entire Upstate – truly the entire state – embraces the Panthers as our team, and we love playing host to the thousands of football fans from around the country, the region and right here at home who come to watch these elite professionals prepare for the season. It’s the best place to get close to the action and see a Super Bowl caliber team in action.”

The Panthers continue to enhance the fan experience at training camp, and again Lowe’s, as sponsor of camp, has helped the team implement some of these amenities and beautification of the grounds to create a pristine environment from which to watch practice.

The Lowe’s Kickoff Party will feature performances by the TopCat cheerleaders, mascot Sir Purr, Purcussion drum line and Fuzion Force Entertainment Academy, a large-scale, high-energy dance group, says Riley Fields, the Panthers’ director of community relations. “Purcussion will unveil a new steel drum section, and the Mayor’s Ball Delivery, featuring mayors or their representatives, will kick off the season in style.”

Children will be able to pound the Panthers’ “Keep Pounding” gate drums or get their faces painted in team colors and motifs. TopCats and Sir Purr will be available for pictures and meet-and-greet opportunities. “Food trucks and a variety of other terrific concessions, along with Panthers merchandise, will be available for purchase,” Fields adds.

Free parking is available on Wofford’s campus in several lots accessible via East Pearl Street from North Pine Street and North Church Street, and free shuttle bus service is being provided from the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium parking lot as well as the city’s St. John Street parking deck in downtown. Shuttle service also will be available on weekends from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s newly renovated Beaumont Mill on Pine Street. Handicap parking and free shuttle service will be available from the SRHS’s Pinewood Resource Center at North Pine Street and Pearl Street.

The shuttle buses will begin running two hours before the start of practice and will continue to run for two hours following the end of practice.

Parking also is free at other nearby parking lots, including the grass lot across North Church Street from Evins Street and the Spartanburg County Administration Building lot on North Church Street, during weekends.

“We want to make certain we do everything we can to get fans to training camp as easily as possible,” Annie Mitchell, vice president for marketing and communications for Wofford, says. “The shuttle buses will be a good option for many of the fans coming to camp.” She notes that Twitty Street, off Pine Street, will be closed to all traffic except for handicap shuttle service.

Directions and a printable parking map are available at www.panthers.com/schedule/training-camp.html.