GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — ECU Police officers are gearing up for a big weekend.
The Pirates have a Thursday night home football game against South Florida, followed by a weekend full of Halloween festivities, which culminate with the holiday on Sunday.
Captain Chris Sutton said he expects about 30,000 people will attend the football game against USF. Sutton wants people to be on the lookout for pedestrians and take alternate routes if possible to avoid areas near the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium complex.
“It’s unique because we’ve got a Thursday night football game and Halloween book-ending a weekend, so Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night there’ll be much more traffic in this area than what typically there is,” said Sutton.
Tailgate lots for Thursday’s game open at 4 p.m. Police will start closing off 14th Street between Elm Street and Charles Boulevard at 4:30 p.m. The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear black to the game, which may hamper drivers from seeing people trying to cross the road.
“It’s a blackout game,” said Sutton. “We’ll have potentially 11,000 plus students. That’ll be 11,000 plus pedestrians that will be leaving wearing dark clothing, so that’s why it’s so important for motorists to be aware of individuals crossing any of these roadways that are around the athletic complex.”
Halloween festivities begin Friday night. Sutton said people should expect increased foot traffic as well as possible road closures, on Cotanche, Fifth and Evans streets through Sunday.
Sutton said more people in town means more business for local shops and restaurants.
“When ECU does good, Eastern North Carolina does good,” he said. “When we have a football game that brings in 30,000 plus spectators, then that has an impact with the merchants locally.”
Sutton is asking students and ECU fans to be on their best behaviors throughout the weekend.
“It gives us a chance to shine not just on the football field, but as a university and campus and student body as a whole,” he said. “That’s why it’s important our students and our fans that come to the game do their best to make ECU look good.”
Sutton wants everyone to have fun, but also stay safe. He said you should keep an eye on your drinks and make smart decisions.