What Chicago’s NFL Draft, fan fest will look like
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When it comes to bathrooms, NFL Draft fans won’t have to be on the clock for long.
Neither NFL nor Chicago officials sounded concerned Grant Park will become Wrigley Field when three days of draft festivities start April 30.
The reason: event production company C3 Presents has experience putting on Lollapalooza at the park.
“Whatever the ‘Lolla’ model is, is going to apply to that,” Don Welsh, the president and CEO of Choose Chicago, said Tuesday.
With the draft almost two weeks away, here are 10 more questions — and answers:
1. Where are the festivities?
Auditorium Theatre and Grant Park; the latter will host Selection Square and Draft Town. The 900,000 square-foot Draft Town is a free fan festival open from 4-10 p.m. on April 30 and May 1, and from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. May 2.
2. Where will players hug the commissioner?
On the first night, players will be introduced at the two-tiered theater stage. Twenty-five players will be in the green room.
3. How many people will be there?
“If we can get beyond 100,000 fans across those three days, that’d be tremendous,” NFL senior vice president of events Peter O’Reilly said.
Fan interest remained intense despite the move from New York after 50 years. O’Reilly said 79,000 fans from all 50 states entered the lottery, which assigned tickets to the theater and square.
4. Can I drink?
The Draft Tavern — might we suggest spelling it “Draught?” — at Draft Town will have more than 50 taps. There will be food to soak it up; chef Graham Elliot is the draft’s “culinary curator.”
5. What can I do for fun?
The “Sweetness Simulator,” a skydiving wind tunnel, will allow fans to strike football poses mid-air. Fans can run the 40-yard dash against video of NFL players, visit the Super Bowl Museum and hang at houses devoted to all 32 teams. Kids can run around at the Play 60 interactive area.
A May 2 concert — with an as-yet-unnamed band — will close the event.
6. What about rain?
Selection Square and portions of Draft Town will be underneath an 80-foot, arch-shaped enclosure.
7. Why is the water orange and navy?
Buckingham Fountain will be lit up in the colors of teams “on the clock.”
8. What about former Bears?
Dick Butkus will announce the team’s picks May 1. So will the Bills’ Jim Kelly and the Bengals’ Ickey Woods, among others.
9. What does this cost?
Welsh said there will be no taxpayer money used.
10. Will it come back?
O’Reilly wasn’t ready to commit to staying for 2016, but Chicago’s park system and location — convenient to other NFL markets — make it attractive. The NFL will decide by Sept. 30.