Panthers hosting Fan Fest on Friday

Jul. 22, 2014 @ 03:19 PM

Thousands of sports fans across Union County are starving for football, and they can get an early taste this weekend.

The Carolina Panthers are holding their annual Fan Fest on Friday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte starting at 6:30 p.m.

The Panthers, entering their 20th season as an NFL franchise, will then relocate to Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., where they have held training camp every year since the inaugural season in 1995.

Carolina's second preseason practice is at Wofford's Gibbs Stadium on Saturday (6:30 p.m. start), preceded by a Back to Football Party from 4-6:30.

The Panthers' training camp practices and festivities are open to the public and free to attend.

Young fans, ages 6-13, can join Panther Pals for free and watch part of practice from field level. Panther Pals also get to spend time with a player after practice.

Sports Illustrated ranked Carolina's preseason practices among the top five in the NFL for fan friendliness.

Sunday is Play 60 Day from 2-4:30 p.m., and will include a Kids Combine, appearances by the TopCats and Sir Purr, face painting and other activities.

Carolina will have just two days off during a 19-day stretch (July 30 and Aug. 9).

The preseason camp at Wofford concludes on Aug. 12.

The Panthers, who finished 12-4 last season and won the NFC South, play their first preseason game on Aug. 8 at home against Buffalo. Carolina's regular-season opener is at Tampa Bay on Sept. 7.

Dates to remember

for Panthers fans:

July 25: Fan Fest at Bank of America Stadium 6:30 p.m.

July 26: First practice at Wofford College 6:30 p.m.

Aug. 8: First preseason game, Buffalo at home 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 7: First regular season game, at Tampa Bay 4:25 p.m.