Friday evening showers did not stop Panthers fans from getting to the stadium early for the team’s annual Fan Fest.
Some fans took cover in nearby parking lots and under the sides of buildings. This didn’t seem to impact their spirits as cheers of “Keep Pounding” could be heard all down Stonewall Street.
Some 60,000 fans were expected at Bank of America Stadium Friday night for Fan Fest, an annual event that allows Panthers fans to gain free admission to see the team practice.
Some of the more dedicated fans decided to tough it out in front of the stadium. People selling ponchos for $5 flocked to these areas, as plenty of people were eager to purchase them.
A grassy area designated for balloons, games and music still had fans huddling under tents to get their Panthers gear.
No music was being played. The DJ equipment was covered up with black trash bags.
As the rain quit and the sun came out, a loud “Here comes the sun!” was shouted from inside a nearby parking garage. Fans began to head towards the stadium.
“The weather said it would stop at 3 after 6, and it stopped at 2 after 6,” said Frank King, who waited under the Duke Energy building for shelter. “I am happy I stayed I dry.”
Many fans were just happy to be back at the stadium to support the defending NFC champs, and were hoping for a return to the Super Bowl.
That included Mario Jovanshaw, who was excited to see Kelvin Benjamin back on the team, adding, “We are going back to the playoffs, that is a given. Now is our time to win.”
A fan who went by the name of “Mad Cattah” agreed, saying, “We got a chip on our shoulder and we are going to get what we deserve — Nothing short of a Super Bowl ring.”
And 9-year-old Tucker Farabee felt the same way. The one thing he wants, he said, is “to go back to the Super Bowl and win.”
That way, said another fan, Kyle Kiser, the team can prove the whole league wrong.
Carla Davis was a Redskins fan while her son favored the Cowboys. “We said let’s get rid of those teams and become Panthers fans,” she said. “I thought they played great I was proud of them just making the Super Bowl.”
Tyler Fleming: 704-358-5355, @tyler_fleming96