Detroit shines during NFL Draft


“Detroit shines during NFL Draft”

A man draped in Chicago Bears gear packed himself into the downtown people mover heading from Brick Town to the main stage of the NFL draft.

A concerned look struck him when the transportation security officer placed his hand across his chest and barked “No Bears fans allowed.”

Of course the officer was joking.

He patted the Bears fan on his left shoulder and said: “Welcome aboard buddy.”

That was the kind of weekend it was for Detroit and the NFL as we hosted the 2024 NFL Draft. While the glitz of the draft and the multi-colored stage and nattily dressed draftees drew most of the accolades, Detroit really shined in the streets, in the restaurants and even on the People Mover.

Rivals hugged. Rivals cheered. And rivals drank together.

At the end of the weekend I don’t know who shined better. The city of Detroit or Lions GM Brad Holmes, who punctuated a weekend where an NFL Draft record 775,000 fans attended with no major incidents, by double dipping to address a pressing need for the team at corner back.

“You get 700,000 fans for one drafting host city. That is about as impressive as it gets,” said Holmes.

The week was good for the NFL. It was good for NFL fans and it was especially good for the city of Detroit and the Lions.

I volunteered for the Downtown Detroit Partnership to witness the event, but mostly to do my very small part in helping this event thrive. I mostly directed people to the main stage and some of my not top of mind spots for food and beverage. We wanted our visitors to experience as much of Detroit as possible.

I was stationed in Capitol Park where restaurants La Lanterna, Prime and Proper, Leila’s and Eatori Eatery serve up some of the best food downtown. Bakery Cannelle Coffee shop and Pastries was voted the top bakery in the Midwest by a Midwestern magazine. The raspberry tart is so delicious that I’ve asked the counter help to take it off the menu so I won’t eat one every time I am downtown.

They simply laugh and make more.

Big events should leave behind foot prints for the locals to enjoy. I have an idea for Capitol Park. They set up a giant television for people to watch the draft and a stage where music played the entire weekend.

I propose that Detroit holds Saturday summer afternoon concerts at least once a month to spot light local artists and give people a place to chill. The park could also show Michigan football games in the fall and Tiger games in summer.

It might introduce more local folks to Capitol Park. Many of the people viewing the area for the first time were from Detroit, Troy and South Lyon.

I am proud that Detroit set the NFL record by attracting 775,000 fans for the three-day event. There was little to no crime.

There was plenty of good publicity and hopefully some of these people return to visit the city.

However, there was one regrettable incident. A fan asked a security guard directions to the main stage. The guard gave the directions but said the stage was being shut down by the NFL because the area reach capacity. The fan got angry and shoved the guard.

My question was why.

Other than that it was a great weekend. We welcomed all, including cornerbacks Terrion Arnold and Ennie Rakestraw. We even welcomed Bears fans too.


For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet

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Original Photo Credit © Eric Seals / USA TODAY NETWORK