August 5, 2017
The Carolina Panthers returned to Uptown Charlotte for their annual Fan Fest on Friday night. A diverse group of anxious Panthers fans trickled into the stadium for the popular event that kicks off the beginning of NFL activities for fans. This was the first year the Panthers charged a ticket price ($5.00) for the event due to high demand and safety issues. It seemed to have little effect on the attendance as the event was sold-out and proceeds will be going to select Carolina Panthers charities according to the official team website.
Among some of the highlights and much-anticipated moments were Cam Newton’s energetic crowd engagement with his self-conducted waves, and a first look at rookie running back and first-round draft pick Christian McCaffrey. The crowd oohed and aahed with each kick return, catch and run by the versatile Stanford standout. Although a few star players like Kawaan Short, Julius Peppers, and Charles Johnson did not suit up for the public practice, it was great to see Peppers back in Carolina engaging with players like Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. This front seven looks as good as it’s ever been.
Other notable moments included the introduction of Dom Fuller, an 8-year-old Make-A-Wish foundation “draftee” who was awarded a one-day contract to participate in the Fan Fest practice. Marty Hurney was also spotted on the field laughing and embracing players, which was a rare site considering the recent and abrupt departure of Dave Gettlemen. Greg Olsen also proved why he is an elite player, as the 32-year-old Pro Bowler was one of the first players on the field and made some great catches during the 7-on-7 drills. The night was capped off by a stellar light and fireworks show that captivated thousands in attendance eagerly anticipating the start of the NFL season.
Here are some of our favorite images from Panthers Fan Fest 2017:
Check out the full 2017 Carolina Panthers schedule.