CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Tens of thousands of people are expected to flood uptown Charlotte this week for back-to-back events -- the Belk Bowl and New Year's Eve celebrations -- and police are preparing to put security plans into action to protect the crowds from harm.
The events schedule starts Wednesday with the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. The CLT New Year's Eve celebration is on Thursday at Romare Bearden Park and the last Carolina Panthers home game of the regular season is on Sunday.
"We use all available assets that we have here to levy against anyone who would seek to do any of our citizens harm," said Deputy Chief Jeff Estes.
The city manager declared an extraordinary event for New Year's Eve and the Belk Bowl, prohibiting things like weapons and backpacks and giving police the authority to search suspicious bags.
It's one of several declarations over the past month following recent terror attacks.
Police have been working with intelligence agencies to monitor any potential threats against this week's festivities, and plan to have every available officer on the ground, in sky towers and behind traffic cameras to watch over crowds.
City officials also urge people to obey parking signs. Tow companies will be out enforcing them.
More than 50,000 participants are expected to hit uptown for the Belk Bowl Fanfest, which gets underway Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., but road closures were already in place Tuesday.
Festivities will feature country music super star Carrie Underwood, interactive games, face painting, cheerleaders and a marching band.
The concert stage will be on Stonewall Street at Poplar Street in front of the Food Court and Kid Zone so expect a lot of pedestrian traffic in the area as well.
To get around the road closures near Bank of America Stadium utilize Interstate 277, parts of Graham Street and South Tryon Street as alternate routes, or use the light rail heading into uptown.
Street closures began on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. and will reopen Wednesday at 11 p.m.
- South Mint Street between Morehead Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
- Graham Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Mint Street
- Stonewall Street between Mint Street and Church Street
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