GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The first Freeboot Friday in over a year kicked off on Friday evening. It was a fun event for fans of the Pirates to get ready for Saturday’s home opener against South Carolina.

“I’ve been to a lot of them in the past and I’m happy they’re back,” said Jovon Thompson, an ECU alumni. “I definitely missed coming out here with everyone and I feel the spirit of Pirate nation, it’s nice.”

Thompson has been to many Freeboot Fridays. After last year’s events were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, everyone is excited to get back out.

Preview: Pirates open home slate Saturday against South Carolina

“The turnout is fantastic,” said Meredith Dzeko, Executive Director of Uptown Greenville. “People are really participating in the event how they would like. They’re spacing out, they’re enjoying the entire footprint of the event.”

People heading out to Five Points Plaza enjoyed all the event had to offer.

“It’s really the place to be on a Friday night before an ECU football game,” said Dzeko.

People enjoyed music from the Dundies, food trucks, beer tents, local sponsors and a big welcome from head football coach, Mike Houston.

“The South Carolina Gamecocks from the SEC are in town and it’d be a great way to welcome them with a big purple and gold stadium filled,” said Houston. “It’s going to be a great game.”

“We love the interaction with ECU athletics,” Dzeko said. “Mike Houston coming out and rallying up the crowd is really a good touchpoint for the community to see him and get to be around him.”

Houston said he expects the purple and gold to show out big on Saturday.

“I’m in my gold and got my purple right here,” Thompson said. “I got a lot of faith in us. I know we can pull it off and have a good season.”

The next Freeboot Friday will be on September 24 at 5:30 p.m. before the ECU Pirates take on Charleston Southern the following day.