Historically, Fan Fest has always taken place well into the start of training camp. Not this year.

The Carolina Panthers are having their annual Fan Fest at the start of training camp this year. On July 25, the Panthers will open their doors to thousands of rabid Panthers fans.

The Panthers are anxious to unveil their awesome new stadium upgrades to Panthers fans.

Fans will see new scoreboard/video boards, 360-degree ribbons boards and hear the new sound system. The boards, which dwarf the previous video screens, will provide a much more enjoyable visual experience during the games. The sound system, which we learned from Vinny Esposito in the Huddle Podcast Episode 2, will feature an ability to "move sound around the stadium".

The Panthers will practice, but whether or not they will be in full pads is unclear. In all probability, you can expect highly entertaining drills such as 7 on 7 and WR/DB match ups. This will provide plenty of excitement for the fans and their quest to quench their football thirst.

The reason for moving Fan Fest to the start of camp is simple, the Carolina Panthers wanted their own fans to be the first to witness the new stadium upgrades. On August 2, there is a Guinness International Championship soccer match scheduled between Milan and Liverpool, whose fans will also enjoy the new upgrades. So, the date has been moved up and now Panthers fans, not soccer fans, will be the first to see the new diggs. Smart move.

Fan Fest will take place July 25 at 6:30pm at Bank of America Stadium. Admission is free, but there will be a charge for parking around the various lots. Historically, parking has run 5 to 10 dollars depending on the proximity to the stadium. The South side of the stadium fills up quickly as more shade is available there. North seats will be in full sun for the start of practice.

Autographs are signed after practice. Make your way down to the bottom of the seating where players will be walking around the stadium and signing whatever fans bring. I have noticed in the past that those closest to the south tunnel have the highest chance of getting something signed.