GRANT PARK — The NFL's "Draft Town" blitzing Grant Park later this month will feature a lot more than name-calling.
Those who visit the outdoor party from April 30 to May 2 will be able to run a 40-yard dash alongside NFL stars on an LED screen, hop in a skydiving simulator, or compete in a five-on-five flag football tournament, among other activities.
Admission will be free, but Chicago Park District officials unveiling renderings of the event Wednesday believe Draft Town will come through in the clutch for the city. Chicago is within a day's drive of 11 other NFL markets, and the event is viewed by 50 million people annually.
Dave Matthews says the city is expecting a big crowd:
"This event will have a significant economic impact," said Alonzo Williams, the park district's director of revenue. Chicago last hosted the NFL Draft in 1963, when Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers were college students.
Though grand, Draft Town still represents a consolation prize to NFL fans shut out of the actual draft occurring in-and-near Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway. Williams said 76,000 people have entered the NFL's lottery for the 8,600 tickets that are available.
As such, the NFL has set up "Selection Square," where team officials will relay their picks across the street from the theatre. Buckingham Fountain will also be lit up in the colors of the team on the clock.
Other Draft Town attractions include a Super Bowl museum where fans can pose with the Vince Lombardi Trophy, get autographs, and buy team merchandise. Williams said "several" evacuation plans have been developed in case of inclement weather.
The Bears are set to pick seventh in the first round.
Check out our slideshow for a sneak peek of Draft Town festivities as imagined by the NFL.
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