Falcons bringing Friday Night Lights to Norcross

Official NFL team logos; 1 col.; 46.5 mm

Official NFL team logos; 1 col.; 46.5 mm

The Atlanta Falcons' fourth Friday Night Lights team scrimmage, a free preseason showcase at an area high school, will be held in the same spot as the previous three -- Gwinnett County.

Norcross High School is the latest host for the annual event, scheduled this year for 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5. The NFL team's showcase is the evening's main event, but the evening also includes a fanfest with inflatable games, a fireworks display and a post-game autograph session.

The previous three Friday Night Lights celebrations were held at Gwinnett high schools as well. Those three at Mill Creek (2008), Brookwood (2009) and North Gwinnett (2010) were all played in front of capacity crowds.

"It's going to be a big event," Norcross athletic and activities director Kirk Barton said. "We're really looking forward to it. For me as much as anything, I've been an Atlanta Falcons fan for a long time and I get a chance to see them up close and personal. it should be a big crowd. We're expecting a big crowd. I talked to some other ADs who have hosted it and they've all been successful events."

The Falcons first approached Norcross about hosting the 2011 event nine months ago and the two sides firmed up an agreement a few months ago. That said, the NFL lockout left the football season in doubt, particularly the preseason events.

The situation left the Blue Devils in limbo most of the summer.

"We were hoping (the lockout) would end quickly," Barton said.

It finally did on Monday. A day later, Norcross got word that Friday Night Lights was a go.

"This is a special event for not only our fans, but for our players as well," Falcons chief marketing officer Jim Smith said. "Our guys love going back to their roots and playing under the lights at a high school field every year. This event provides us the opportunity to reach out to the community and give our fans a chance to get up close and personal with our team as we prepare for the season."