by: Phil Orban Updated:CHARLOTTE —
Fireworks blasted over the newly improved Bank of America Stadium Friday night capping the end of Fan Fest where 36,000 fans attended.
IMAGES: Panthers Fan Fest at BofA Stadium
The team conducted its first preseason practice at the newly renovated Bank of America Stadium to kick off the franchise's 20th season.
The gates opened at 5 p.m. with performances by the TopCats, PurrCussion and Black & Blue Crew.
Practice began at 6:30 p.m. and will include individual drills and seven-on-seven drills.
After practice there was a Q&A with Panthers personnel on the field followed by a performance by the Voltage Brothers and fireworks show.
The completed stadium enhancements feature two new 63 foot tall by 212 foot wide high definition scoreboards above each end zone, two new ribbon boards approximately five feet tall that encircle the entire bowl at the club level and upper level, a new distributed sound system and newly installed escalators.
CHOPPER IMAGES: Bank of America Stadium renovated ahead of Fan Fest
Fan Fest has traditionally been held on Saturday after the first week of preseason but was moved because of the Liverpool and A.C. Milan soccer match on Aug. 2 at Bank of America Stadium.
The first day of training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina will be July 26. The team will host a “Back to Football Party” from 4 to 6:30 p.m. According to the team, festivities will include on-field performances by the TopCats, Sir Purr, PurCussion and Black & Blue Crew. There will also be face painting, food, interactive games and more. Admission is free.
The team will have practice from July 26 to Aug. 12. They will have a few days off in-between. Click here to see the Panthers full training camp schedule, including times practice is open to the public.
To learn more about Panthers training camp, including directions and parking, click here.
The Panthers will play their first preseason game on Aug. 8, when they host the Buffalo Bills at Bank of America Stadium.
The Panthers will play the Kansas City Chiefs at home on Aug. 17 and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 22. The team will play its final preseason game in Pittsburgh on Aug. 28.
The regular season kicks off on Sept. 7, but the Panthers will not play their first home regular season game until Sept. 14 when the Lions come to Charlotte. Click here for the Panthers' season schedule.
The team has been active in the community this summer, with many players participating or hosting their own summer camps and events. Although Steve Smith is now a Raven, he said it was important to him to have a presence in the Carolinas. He held his seventh annual ProCamp in mid-June.
Ron Rivera hosted a bowling tournament, Bowl-A-Palooza, with proceeds benefitting the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. The team also had a new quarterback for a day, 6-year-old George Gring from Make-A-Wish. He came to spend the day with Cam Newton, which was featured on ESPN’s “My Wish” series this summer. Gring will also be the team’s “Keep Pounding” drummer before the Aug. 17 home game.