Penn Athletics to Open Penn Park With Field Day and Fireworks on Sept. 17

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Penn opens its 135th football season on September 17 against Lafayette (6 p.m.) and the two-time defending Ivy League champion Quakers will open with a bang - literally - as post-game fireworks await the crowd at Franklin Field as part of the University's Penn Park Grand Opening.

The conclusion of three days of events to open Penn Park, the Department of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics is proud to partner with the Office of New Student Orientation and Academic Initiatives to welcome the Penn community and introduce the newest addition to the campus.

"Many of us have dreamed for decades to have athletic and recreation playing facilities on the former postal lands," said Director of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics Steve Bilsky W'71, "But we never could have imagined it developing into something as picturesque and functional as Penn Park."

Starting at 4 p.m. on the 17th, all members of the Penn community are invited to Penn Park for Field Day - a celebration of the athletic and recreation spaces available at the 14-acre Penn Park. Before the 4 p.m. official start, members of the Penn men's soccer program will be holding a youth soccer clinic at Penn Park from 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. All ages are welcome! Highlights of Field Day include:
Free Penn Park Grand Opening T-Shirts to the first 1,000 attendees with a Penn Card Photo opportunities with the prestigious Heisman Trophy, named after 1892 Penn grad and football legend John Heisman Pushball games organized by the Office of Alumni Relations Human Chess organized by the Philomathean Society Inflatable games Giant board games, i.e. Chess, Connect Four and Dominoes Live Penn softball practice on the new Multi-Purpose Stadium
Music provided by DJs from Center Stage Entertainment Refreshments from Bon Appetit and Aramark
Shortly before 6 p.m., attendees will be directed across the Paley Bridge from Penn Park to Franklin Field for the opener of the 2011 season for the 15-time Ivy League champion football program. Coming off a 9-1 season and a second consecutive undefeated Ivy League campaign in 2010, the Red and Blue are the preseason favorite by the Ivy League media and chosen No. 24 in the FCS Coaches Preseason Poll.

Shortly after the conclusion of Penn's game against Lafayette, all fans will be directed toward the West end of Franklin Field - including on the turf - nearest Weightman Hall for a fireworks show designed by Pyrotecnico. Headquartered in New Castle, Pa., with an office in Vineland, N.J., Pyrotecnico is a family-owned company that has been at the forefront of its industry since 1889. No stranger to the athletics world, Pyrotecnico designed the fireworks display for the grand opening of Lincoln Financial Field and lists the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, Auburn University and the University of Florida among its many clients in addition to Super Bowl halftime shows and the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

A 14-acre addition to Penn's West Philadelphia campus, Penn Park is located south of Walnut Street and nestled alongside the Schuylkill River in the foreground of Philadelphia's beautiful Center City skyline. Ground broke on Penn Park on Nov. 6, 2009 and set in motion the construction of the centerpiece of Penn Connects, the University's 30-year master plan. Adding 20 percent more green space to Penn's urban campus, Penn Park will be the new home of Penn's softball program while providing two additional FieldTurf fields for all of Penn's athletic and recreational programs to use.