“It’s been wonderful, the turnout’s been amazing, everyone’s been actually really friends too, even being an outsider fan,” said Eagles fan Vincent Carter.
He and all the other visitors we spoke to walked away with positive memories of the Cleveland.
“It is my first time in Cleveland and it is not what I expected and I’m actually impressed,” said Titans fan Jeffery Jefferson.
Despite a bout of bad weather, Saturday saw mostly sunny skies.
50-thousand fans have been able to access the draft experience area daily. They were able to try out their pro-football skills down on the field and kick a field goal or throw a hail mary pass. Then they were able to replenish their energy with “a taste of Cleveland.”
“I think it’s really gonna impact the city well, especially like the restaurants, there’s so much to do,” said Browns fan Gina Guttierez.
“It’s wonderful, the nightlife, just hanging out, eating, the restaurants, it’s been great,” said Eagles fan Chris Jefferson.
Restaurants like Nuevo Modern Mexican and Tequila Bar and Ohio City BBQ say Saturday was the busiest. They were excited for the exposure and tried out new concepts on the crowd.
“We are launching a new food truck, called MOD Bites and we are very excited about that. We’ve been working really hard and we have a great menu and that’s what we’ve been serving so far and it’s gone over really well. I have people coming back for seconds and thirds,” said Kimberly Benyo, Director of Business Development.
“It’s gonna great for us and everybody else because they get to see us on TVs. They get to taste our food — some people are tasting food that they never tasted before,” said Eddie Jay, pitmaster at Ohio City BBQ.
Both businesses say the past three days have been a bonding experience.
“We got a chance to meet everybody, you know, and just finding out that some of these guys just around the corner, struggling like us through the COVID times. Everybody needed this to not only build up their business but the morale,” said Jay.
Benyo agreed. He said, “maybe if we forgot something or if our partners ran out of something next door — we’re just helping each other out and it’s not a competition at all right now. We’re just feeling the love and enjoying everything.”
And, despite some friendly competition, it was also a bonding moment for all football fans.
A concert from Clevelander Machine Gun Kelly and a fireworks show wrapped up the evening. The NFL Draft 2021 went out with a bang.