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Browns Fan Fest an 'awesome' time for fans, players

Reviews are coming in from Cleveland Browns' first Fan Fest held on Saturday, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

A whopping 5,012 Browns fans packed the Cleveland Convention Center. And let's remember, football season is still three months away.

"It was awesome," Browns fan Andy Janick said at the event. "We are season ticket holders so we got here right at 9 a.m. To be honest with you, we're surprised how many people came. It was so cool to see Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine up close and in person. This gets us really excited for the season."

"I thought it was really special I got to meet the Browns," said Jillian Mathes. "That's all I wanted for my birthday."

It wasn't just fans who were thrilled with the event, either.

"It feels like the season starts next week," linebacker Craig Robertson. "That's just the atmosphere in the building."

Festivities included:

  • A locker room sale of Browns gear with the older version of the logo – practice jerseys, cleats, winter jackets, t-shirts, signed posters. The proceeds made close to $35,000, all of which will go to the Cleveland Browns Foundation to spread through education initiatives throughout Northeast Ohio.
  • A turf football field for all things youth football. Farmer presented Solon High School with new football equipment through the HELMETS program and Donte Whitner demonstrated a football clinic for the Muny League (where he grew up playing football).
  • Several panel discussions were hosted toward the back end of the Convention Center. These included a free-flowing conversation between Pettine and Farmer hosted by Nathan Zegura; the 30th anniversary of the Dawg Pound discussion with Jim Donovan, Kevin Mack, Hanford Dixon, Bob Golic and Tony Dick; a broadcast roundtable with Donovan, Zegura, Matt Wilhelm and Doug Dieken; and a champions roundtable with Jim Brown, Paul Warfield, Jim Houston and Donovan.
  • 36 Browns players were in attendance for autographs and pictures, and 14 Browns alumni also showed up to Fan Fest.
  • Plenty of activities for kids, including a mechanical bull, a silent disco dance area, face painting, cornhole, food and refreshments and a DJ.

"The idea really came from us talking to our fans," Vice President of Fan Experience and Marketing Kevin Griffin said. "There are a number of us in the Cleveland Browns front office who have put on these types of events before. We talked to our fans in our Fan Advisory committee meeting about what types of activities they wanted to see and for us to produce and how to connect better with the fans and the players. So this was one of their ideas and we moved that forward."

"Anytime you get a chance to engage with the fans to kind of give our side of the story to where the Browns are and how we feel – it's always great to see the support," Farmer said. "I've been in Kansas City, I've been in other cities: There's nothing like being in Cleveland."

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