Free events surround NFL kickoff festival in Denver

DENVER -- As big perk for being Super Bowl champions, the NFL will hold a season kickoff festival in Denver beginning Wednesday, leading to the Broncos' regular-season opener against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

"It will bring music, interactive fan experiences and a spirit of community to Denver as fans nationwide get back to football, beginning on Thursday and continuing through the weekend," the NFL said.

The information below was provided by the NFL. It details what fans will find and the schedule at the festival.

Kickoff Village

Kickoff Village will be open to fans Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Civic Center Park. This fan zone is free and open to the public.

Fans are encouraged to check in at events with Fan Mobile Pass for the chance to win tickets to Super Bowl LI, an autographed football and more. Fans can visit NFL.com/FanMobilePass to register and for official rules.

Examples of fan experiences are detailed below:

  • Visit Hyundai to catch local NFL Legends signing autographs, participate in a green screen photo opportunity and receive a pair of blue or orange NFL/Hyundai sunglasses.
  • Dive into the action at the 2016 Bridgestone Experience. Make the winning catch in our football photo experience or challenge your friends to an interactive football game.
  • Stop by Bud Light’s larger than life team cans for a photo opportunity. Bud Light, beer with your team on it. #myteamcan
  • Come experience and sample a line of new beverages inspired by the original recipes created back in 1893 by Pepsi’s Soda Craftsmen.
  • Pepsi and Tostitos are giving fans the chance to win Unreal NFL Experiences all season long. Visit the Tostitos Chalk Talk Stage for your chance to engage with former football stars, win Unreal NFL Experiences, and listen to a Sirius Radio broadcast featuring “Movin’ The Chain” hosts - former NFL quarterback Jim Miller and former NFL coach Pat Kirwan.
  • Complimentary charging lockers will be located throughout the Kickoff Village for all fans, where phones can be dropped off while fans explore the event.
  • Stop by the Wilson booth to get closer to the game than ever before with the world’s first smart football. It’s like playing a video game but with a real football in your hand.  The Wilson X Connected Football measures your spiral efficiency, spin rate, velocity and distance.
  • Test your skills at negotiating chores and TV at the Peyton Manning Retirement Combine. Can you get the chores done in time to watch NFL Sunday Ticket on DIRECTV?
  • Visit the official NFL Draft set and go behind the podium for a photo with your favorite team’s No. 1 jersey.
  • Get free autographs from NFL Legends.
  • Celebrate Super Bowl history and take a photo with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
  • Take a photo with the busts of Broncos greats, including John Elway, Floyd Little, Shannon Sharpe and Gary Zimmerman.
  • The "Sunday Night Football" bus gives fans the opportunity to interact with America’s most-watched primetime television show with exclusive activities, memorabilia and photo opportunities. This year the inside of the bus brings fans from the field to the studio, featuring football field decaling on the floor, a mini "SNF" control room, a Player of the Game photo opportunity and a replica of the "Football Night in America" studio desk.
  • Stop by Training Camp to race through a series of obstacles and train like the pros.
  • Stop by for a chance to instantly win authentic NFL memorabilia and other giveaways and learn about some of the charities that benefit from NFL Auction proceeds.
  • Check out the NFL Shop’s merchandise trailer and show your pride with your fellow fans with NFL licensed apparel for men, women, and children.
  • Meet and take a photo with the Denver Broncos cheerleaders on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Listen to the drumbeats of the Stampede on Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Autographs with former players Thursday

Below is a sampling of former players who will be in attendance and signing autographs. Schedule and players listed below is subject to change.

Autograph Stage

  • Rod Smith (10-11 a.m.)
  • Steve Atwater (11 a.m. to noon)
  • Karl Mecklenburg (2-3:30 p.m.)
  • Brandon Stokley (3:30-5 p.m.)

Hyundai

  • Ed McCaffrey (11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.)
  • Rod Smith (Noon to 2 p.m.)
  • D.J. Williams (12:30-1:30 p.m.)
  • Champ Bailey (2-3 p.m.)
  • Steve Atwater (3:30-5 p.m.)
  • Muhsin Muhammad (4:30-5:30 p.m.)

 Dierks Bentley and OneRepublic concert

Multiplatinum entertainers Dierks Bentley and OneRepublic will perform live at Civic Center Park on Thursday for “2016 NFL Kickoff.” The event is free and open to the public rain or shine. Concert gates open at 3 p.m. Thursday

Access to the general public viewing areas is first come, first served. Fans may check out NFL.com/Kickoff and follow @NFL345 on Twitter for the most up-to-date concert details.

Guests can enter the concert site from Broadway or West Colfax Avenue and can  watch the performances from Civic Center Park. The entrances will open to the public beginning at 3 p.m. on Thursday. Guests may view the concert from the general public viewing areas. Fans do not need tickets to attend the free concert.

To ensure public safety and security, the following items are prohibited: weapons, alcohol, food, beverages, all cans and bottles, fireworks, all chairs, tents of any kind, barbecue grills of any kind, umbrellas, blankets of any kind, flag poles, drones, noisemakers, video recorders, cameras with lens over 12 inches, obstructive signs, bags larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches. and animals other than service animals. All attendees are subject to search, and prohibited items may not be abandoned at security checkpoints. Please allow adequate time to pass through security checkpoints before activities begin.

Guests are encouraged to use public transportation and should arrive early to enjoy activities and avoid any traffic or parking delays.

After the concert, attendees are encouraged to watch the Broncos-Panthers game at local Denver establishments. The game will not be broadcast from the concert site at the conclusion of the event.